I remember quite well, my parents shaking their heads & saying- " that is not art... it is a painting of a soup can!", when I expressed my appreciation for the work of Andy Warhol at a very young age. The point of the matter was, I "got him", even at age 8... or especially at age 8. Andy Warhol was the subject of much scorn & derision from the critics, the public & my parents, but he was arguably the most important artist of the 20th century.
Andrew Warhola, sometimes referred to as the "Pope of Pop," embraced pop art, fascinated with the commercialism of popular icons in media & in everyday life. Warhol helped to shape pop culture & foresaw our fascination with the media to the extreme extent to which it is now accessible. Claiming that each individual would have his or her "15 minutes of fame," Warhol would certainly not be surprised by the popularity of such venues as YouTube, MP3 music downloads, MYSpace, American Idol, Facebook, The Real Housewives, or blogs.
A master & practitioner of multiple creative forms of expression, Warhol was a painter, writer, music producer, avant-garde filmmaker, magazine creator, sculptor, & photographer. Focusing on diverse & contrasting interests at once, he was fascinated with all forms of media, a blurring of gender identities, & the contrast between a sense of celebrity & privacy.
He was a ground breaker in the idea of self as product. He even set up his studio as "The Factory", overseeing a staff that turned out prints, silkscreens & products of his work. He was still a great artist & craftsman. The Husband & I once saw an enchanting exhibit of his commercial drawings, mostly of ladies shoes, produced for advertising. These works predated his huge fame, but the essence of what he was to bring was already there. I have allot of material about him, including the very readable Andy Warhol's Diaries. He remains my favorite artist.
"An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have."