art for everyone. every monday morning.
 
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Andy Warhol • american (1929-87)

Flowers • Silkscreen on Canvas 24” x 24”

Few people thought Valerie Solanas was right in the head. Her most notable claim to fame before June 3, 1968 was founding the radical Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM). She was the only member.

Many people also thought Andy Warhol was a bit far out on a limb. Once one of New York’s leading magazine and advertising illustrators, he had become a cultural litmus test beneath a platinum wig and legendary nights at Studio 54, the famed New York celebrity magnet. Warhol moved through life surrounded by a cloud of celebrities, wannabes and never-gonabes. Valerie Solanas was a shadowy presence on the fringes of this cloud. Ironically, she once appeared in his movie, “I a Man.”

In 1966 Solanas began badgering Warhol to produce a play she had written. It was too far out, even for a cultural acrobat as fearless as Warhol. The play was so obscene Warhol actually feared it was part of a police plan to entrap him. Soon the script was lost in the jumble of Warhol’s eclectic studio, known as The Factory.

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In Solanas’ mind, racked by undiagnosed schizophrenia, Warhol had assumed too much control over her life and slighted her work. Soon she stood along the silver-foiled walls of The Factory, gun drawn. There were three shots. Within the hour, Warhol lay clinically dead on a hospital surgical table as doctors massaged his heart back to life. Bullets had ricocheted through his esophagus, lungs, liver, spleen and intestines.  

The actual wounds were healed by a two-month hospital stay, but Andy Warhol was never the same. Forced to wear a surgical corset the rest of his life, he sometimes was unsure if he was really dead or alive. The chaotic scene at his Factory studio became somber. Eighteen years later, his increasing fear of hospitals caused a normal gall bladder infection untreated for too long. He died the day after emergency gall bladder surgery. 

The shooting that led to his eventual downfall occurred only three days before the assassination of Robert Kennedy. It was an interesting time.

Today a large, chrome statue of Warhol stands in New York’s Union Square alongside George Washington and Mahatma Gandhi. In his native Pittsburgh stands the largest museum in America dedicated to a single artist. The Warhol.

Canton Museum of Art Permanent Collection • Courtesy of the Canton Museum of Art. 7231.A&.B

 
 

4 Ways to Sound Smart When Viewing at The Canton Museum of Art


1.
“In 1968 Warhol was shot by a radical feminist artist who says ‘He had too much control over my life.’”

2.
“Warhol started his art career as a commercial illustrator and celebrated mass produced products throughout his life.”

3.
“You know, he managed Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ was written about characters who hung around Warhol’s studio.”

4.
“In 2008 his painting ‘Eight Elvis’” was resold for over $100 million. Wow.”


 

Warhol Timeline. Scroll over images to see timeline.