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Warhol: The Biography : 75th Anniversay Edition

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Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (19281987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive chr Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (19281987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive chronicle of Warhol's storied life.


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Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (19281987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive chr Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (19281987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive chronicle of Warhol's storied life.

30 review for Warhol: The Biography : 75th Anniversay Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    A QUOTE FROM ANDY TO SET THE TONE When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships. POOR JOHNNY ONE NOTE I have a problem with 90% of all modern art – no make that 95%. To put this in context, I have a problem with 95% of everything, and that’s on a good day. I hate Warhol’s stuff marginally less than Jasper Johns’ or Rauschenberg or – well, let’s not get into it. I quite like Andy’s electric chairs and car crashes – amusingly, they didn’t sell because A QUOTE FROM ANDY TO SET THE TONE When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships. POOR JOHNNY ONE NOTE I have a problem with 90% of all modern art – no make that 95%. To put this in context, I have a problem with 95% of everything, and that’s on a good day. I hate Warhol’s stuff marginally less than Jasper Johns’ or Rauschenberg or – well, let’s not get into it. I quite like Andy’s electric chairs and car crashes – amusingly, they didn’t sell because collectors for some entirely superficial reason did not want a PERSON FRYING or MANGLED CORPSES hanging over their dining table or in their gold lame office. Ha ha, they missed the boat there, because those ones really rocketed in price because Andy didn’t do many because they didn’t sell. The rest of it, the portraits and the soup cans and Marilyns is a celebration of banality which only scores jeavily by the simple device of turning up the volume and drowning out every other noise. It’s a good joke once. But I don’t like these artistic johnny one notes anyhow – Mark Rothko was the same but less funny. HIS FLACCID MEMBER Also, Warhol’s films are horrible, but that’s okay, they’re supposed to be. Robert Hughes called them “hour upon hour of tantrum, misery, sexual spasm, campery and nose-picking trivia”. Anyway, the barely-watchable ones are directed by Paul Morrissey. I saw Flesh and Trash years ago. Flesh caused more walk-outs than any movie I was ever at – bang, bang, bang went all the seats as they snapped up when offended patrons stormed out. They thought they could take Joe Dallesandro with a pretty ribbon bow tied round his flaccid member and trying to find a vein in his groin, but they couldn’t, so out they went into the bitter winter night. Trash was miles better, it was funny. In the last Andy Warhol movie, Bad (1976), a woman throws a baby out of a window. People didn’t like that. Said it broke the mood. NOBODY GOT PAID Pre-Flesh ‘n’ Trash, what seems to have happened a lot is that some space cadet would be really high and would suggest something loopy to Andy and he would go wow gee that’s great we must make a movie of that and he would get someone who knew how to switch on a camera to do the idea i.e. actually film it. Andy would ask a couple of people to be in it, probably the person who thought of it would be there, and they would do the whole thing in a day in one take with no script. If the sound was audible, that was a bonus. You think I’m joking. I’m not joking. So the film would be like two oddballs having a desultory conversation about something inaudible, and after 45 minutes the guys takes his clothes off and then wanders off set. End. Then Andy would get offended when other people who watched the movie like say a critic didn’t think it was brilliant. The other thing that happened is that nobody got paid. THE OPPOSITE OF A CULT Also what happened, and I thought this was interesting, is The Factory. Everyone knows about Andy Warhol’s Factory, and it’s all true. It was the opposite of a cult. A cult is where a bunch of idiots think they will get closer to God or create the perfect revolution by following this loudmouth macho when they know, we know, the loudmouth knows, the postman and his second cousin knows, that the whole cult thing exists for the sole purpose of the loudmouth macho getting to sleep with younger and better looking women than his existing lifestyle will permit, and drive about in younger and better looking cars. People drifted into the Factory and hung around and semi-or full-on-worshipped Andy but Andy never said anything, never told them to do anything, he just did his art and his movies. In a cult, it’s all about the big loudmouth. In the Factory, it was all about the freaks. Which Robert Hughes described thus: They were all cultural space-debris, drifting fragments from a variety of sixties subcultures orbiting in smeary ellipses around their unmoved mover. Andy was never in his own movies. They were the superstars and he was a blank look at the centre of it all. When these drifting speed freaks, junkies, trannies, hustlers, self-promoters, self-believing wannabe poets, actors, beautiful people, when all this New York flotsam started self-destructing, as they did, Andy got a lot of stick. Oh he should of taken better care of them, didn’t he realise. Well, he was prone to say stuff like “He should have told us he was going to commit suicide so we could have filmed it” but he was yanking their chains. He had a sense of humour, which I think is the best thing about Andy Warhol. But he didn’t ask them to be the pen around his umbra. They came, they stayed and from time to time they died. Fred Herko in 1964, Edie Sedgwick in 1971, Andrea Feldman in 1972, Candy Darling in 1974, Eric Emerson in 1975. But plenty lived to a ripe old age and are still around now – Viva, Ondine, International Velvet, Holly Woodlawn, lots of them. THE CRAP THEY TALKED In the 60s people would say total crap out loud and other people would eagerly write it down : Andy likes other people to become Andy for him. He doesn’t want to be always in charge of everything. He would rather be me or someone else sometimes. It’s part of pop art, that everybody can impersonate somebody else. That you don’t always have to be you to be you. Thus saith Nico. CELIBATE ANDY This is a great book if you’re interested in Andy Warhol. Sounds obvious, but I have read plenty biographies which wander off topic a lot. Here there’s a whole lot of detail about his life – as we cavalcade through the 60s, it’s a month-by-month account. It’s gossipy and appropriately vulgar. It doesn’t employ one single microdot of literary style as it ponders celibate gay Andy’s sex life, Andy’s wigs, Andy’s fruitbat mother, Andy’s money, Andy’s parties. SO ANDY NEVER GOT ANYBODY, BUT NOT EVERYBODY GOT ANDY Drunk Willem De Kooning, at a party, to Andy Warhol: You’re a killer of art, you’re a killer of beauty, and you’re even a killer of laughter. I can’t bear your work! THE ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF ANDY WARHOL In 1968 a woman called Valerie Solanas was one of the random Factory crowd and gave Andy a script for a movie. This was not uncommon. He never read it and couldn’t remember where he left it, also not uncommon. This festered with Valerie who thought she had written the new Citizen Kane so she conceived that Andy was trying to take control of her life which was very wicked. Unfortunately for all radical feminists, Valerie was a radical feminist who was also unbalanced, and so gave them a bad name for a time. As for instance she went about the streets of NYC handing out the SCUM manifesto. SCUM = Society for Cutting Up Men. It sounds funny except she was serious. Well, in 1967 and 1968 lots of countercultural types did similar things. It wasn’t uncommon. SCUM had only one member which was Valerie. As the rage grew inside her about the script and her bad life, she decided to cut up Andy. So she wandered into the Factory, as people did, and asked Andy for the script, again, and got the brush off, and pulled a gun out of a brown paper bag and shot him twice. Then shot someone else and wandered off into the streets. There was blood all over. Andy very nearly died. Valerie got three years in jail. Not a whole lot, really. After that The Factory relocated and the freaks were not invited. HEY BABE, TAKE A WALK ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE This is where the story turns a nauseating corner. Andy quit painting – maybe we should call it “painting” – for four or five years to do movies and by the time he came back to “painting” which was after the shooting his prices were high and he was feted. It was goodbye Holly, goodbye Viva and Ondine, bye bye Candy darling, and hello Diana Vreeland and Bianca Jagger and nice to see you Truman Capote and Gore Vidal and hello darling Liz Taylor as Andy became the gold medallist social climber of the 1972 Olympics. (And later schmoozing the Shah of Iran, ugh.) When Andy relaunched his little magazine Interview the new editor said “we’re trying to reach high-spending people”. Interview’s vision of how people should be was “rich, beautiful, young and hard-working”. Patrick Bateman would have been an early subscriber. What with that and hanging out at Studio 54, Andy was the punk who became a disco diva, with a concomitant flattening of the beat and less interesting lyrics. Some disco is really good (More More More, Rock Your Baby, Love Hangover) and nearly all of punk is really bad but you know which side of that street you want your artists to be on. On the other hand, it’s hard to beat a room full of Warhol Maos. This was a rare life. It’s true it gets less interesting the richer and more complacent Andy got, but he himself remained pretty weird right up to the end. HE WAS TRULY HATED One obituary said: Only in a culture where art has lost all seriousness and standards have become meaningless could an illustrator and self-publicist such as Warhol be accepted as an artist and Warhol's hypnotised voyeuristic stare of smarmy whitened worminess inspired much fascinated talk about what you find under rocks And Andy would have said : Gee, do you think we could get all the really worst quotes about me and then get the critic who hates me the very most to read them out and film him? Wouldn’t that be great?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    I just watched the interesting, evocative and very sad movie I Shot Andy Warhol, which made me remember that I’d read this biography some years ago. Goodreads is a real trip down memory lane sometimes – oh, yeah, I remember that. Valerie Solanas shot Andy in 1968. She didn’t kill his body but she killed something in his spirit. He wasn’t the same guy afterwards. She was a radical lesbian who had formed an imaginary society called SCUM , the Society for Cutting Up Men. She was crazy, but in 1967/ I just watched the interesting, evocative and very sad movie I Shot Andy Warhol, which made me remember that I’d read this biography some years ago. Goodreads is a real trip down memory lane sometimes – oh, yeah, I remember that. Valerie Solanas shot Andy in 1968. She didn’t kill his body but she killed something in his spirit. He wasn’t the same guy afterwards. She was a radical lesbian who had formed an imaginary society called SCUM , the Society for Cutting Up Men. She was crazy, but in 1967/8 you couldn’t tell she was any crazier than all the other radical thises and thatses who were running around issuing manifestos and calling for the obliteration of patriarchy and the immediate addition of lsd to the water supply. I can’t quite figure out whether I like Warhol’s art. I was at Beaubourg once and there was a Warhol retrospective. There was cow wallpaper (moo!) and soup cans and Marilyns and Elvises and there were Brillo boxes on the floor. A guy was walking slowly and carefully amongst the Brillo boxes, with an intent expression, his hand gripping his chin. I thought, oh Andy – what did you do to us? Such a leg puller! Then I swished round the corner and saw 100 Electric Chairs. WOW! Huge, dayglo, acres of electric chairs on all the walls. Fantastic. Andy, yes - you really had something ! And also, also, Chairman Mao with lipstick... Who wouldn't like that? I bet even Chairman Mao liked that. I remember the last scene described in this biography, which pretty much told me what I wanted to know about Mr Deadpan. After he died they found he owned another apartment in New York which his close friends weren’t aware of. When they went to this apartment and unlocked it they found hundreds and hundreds of shopping bags from all the top New York boutiques. All the bags still had the original stuff in them, clothes, jewellery, crockery, stuff of all sorts, and none of it had been unwrapped. He bought the stuff, dropped it off in this apartment, then went and bought some more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kira

    The first part of the book, until ca. 1970, is excellent. More detail and various perspectives on Warhol's artistic development you could not reasonably demand. I'm biased towards the period between about 1962 and 1968, more interested in hearing about the early Factory than anything else. As many other people have said, the first few chapters are fascinating for the psychological 'case' that Bockris builds about the mature Warhol based on the childhood he describes in these introductory chapter The first part of the book, until ca. 1970, is excellent. More detail and various perspectives on Warhol's artistic development you could not reasonably demand. I'm biased towards the period between about 1962 and 1968, more interested in hearing about the early Factory than anything else. As many other people have said, the first few chapters are fascinating for the psychological 'case' that Bockris builds about the mature Warhol based on the childhood he describes in these introductory chapters. He pursues that case throughout most of the book, essentially arguing that Andy's adult personality was adapted from that of his mother, Julia, as he applied her practical-minded work ethic and desire to please as well as her less flattering traits-- controlling people who depended on her through manipulating their self-confidence, for example. The picture Bockris paints of the Factory's most unhinged period around 1965-67, highlighted in the film The Chelsea Girls, offers both of the prevailing perspectives on the social scenario at the Factory during that time. The pessimistic perspective is that Andy manipulated the emotions of vulnerable young people who looked up to him, and cut them off once he started losing on the deal. The optimistic perspective essentially says that Warhol's Factory had a magnetic pull for unstable but frequently brilliant young drama queens (of all genders), and Andy gave them the daily structure they craved as well as a purpose in life, in the form of conceptual art and becoming a star in one's own mind. Andy had the personal stability they relied upon, but they had the conceptual material and uncompromising intensity of youth, which he desperately needed to stoke the flames of his art. I'm more inclined to take the latter point of view, but wouldn't I? Haha.. The second part of the story, which I count as 1970 through Warhol's death, is for me too ugly to love but too boring to take a prurient interest in. Andy Warhol as New York disco "tastemaker" figurehead, lead around to the 'hip' clubs and restaurants by his unctuous handlers like Bob Colacello, whose bio. of Warhol I'm glad I didn't buy before reading this book. I had to take off one whole star from my rating for this part of the book, which is several hundred pages actually. Maybe I was so satisfied with the parts of the Warhol story that interested me, I felt no need to pay the last chapters any more than skimming attention. Maybe my tolerance for watching the fatal flaw unfold to its conclusion is weak. I was never big on Greek tragedies. PS: One last comment: the few moments in Warhol's story, as Bockris tells it, that I found very bitter pills to swallow, were the times when Andy gave up on his close collaborators and even friends (if the man truly had any friends) once they failed to be what he required of them. The two huge instances of this behavior are his complete indifference to Candy Darling's death from leukemia in 1974, and his disappointment in Ondine's personality once he gave up taking amphetamine. I can understand that death and dying were traumatic to Warhol, too traumatic to endure first-hand perhaps. But he seems literally to have forgotten these people, almost overnight. Well, in Ondine's case he got him a job at Carnegie Tech were he went to art school, it seems. That slightly assuages my anger at reading about his treatment of these friends. He seemed much more interested in taking care of people's material needs, however, than showing any real interest in their lives after he had apparently lost the ability to be interested in them, however. The preoccupied rich daddy. Maybe Edie Sedgwick was attracted to Andy for a reason.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonathon Hagger

    From the beginning of this book the reader is drawn into a world of mystery and intrigue that was Andy Warhol. Excellently researched and very well written the story makes the journey of learning about Andy very pleasurable. There are lots of insights into the mixture of genius and eccentricity. I thoroughly enjoyed the book through to the mid70s when the style of writing changes and the tone changes from investigative biography to a blow by blow documentary. Overall an excellent read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    (page 158, my book) The interviewer asked, “Do you think pop art is” “No”, Warhol replied “What” “No” “Do you think pop art is” “No” he replied, “No, I don’t” (Page 159) Marcel Duchamp “What concerns us is the concept that wants to put Campell’s soup cans on a canvas.” There are a great many descriptions of Warhol in this book, among others: genius, voyeur, village idiot, a phoney, a vampire (Page 155): To at least one onlooker he seemed more “like a white witch, looking at America from an alien and obtu (page 158, my book) The interviewer asked, “Do you think pop art is” “No”, Warhol replied “What” “No” “Do you think pop art is” “No” he replied, “No, I don’t” (Page 159) Marcel Duchamp “What concerns us is the concept that wants to put Campell’s soup cans on a canvas.” There are a great many descriptions of Warhol in this book, among others: genius, voyeur, village idiot, a phoney, a vampire (Page 155): To at least one onlooker he seemed more “like a white witch, looking at America from an alien and obtuse angle.” The strength of this book is that the author always provides us with several views of Andy during the same time period – some flattering, others less so. Mr. Bockris takes us through Andy Warhol’s entire background of growing up in Pittsburgh and attending art school there. The one aspect evident is that Andy (like other great artists) worked very hard – from a young age he was constantly sketching and painting. When he arrived in New York in the early 1950’s he had to make money and rapidly made advertising sketches. He eventually made his way from “commercial” art into the “artistic” art world. The rivalries between the different groups – artistic versus commercial, abstract expressionism versus art and pop art, gay versus straight, gallery competitions are all well brought out. But the book is foremost about Andy’s multiple worlds. We also get a first hand view of the Warhol factory of the 1960’s and it’s a pretty bizarre place. There are assorted misfits of all types. Andy had an intense attraction to dysfunctional people – he was compulsively drawn towards their problems. Page 219: Andy on Edie Sedgwick “I could see that she had more problems than anybody I’d ever met.” He would not necessarily try to help them, in fact (from page 205-06) “when they had passed their prime for his use, which usually took from three to six months... the deserted star would be in the position of a drug addict suddenly cut off from his supplier.” He needed them for art stimulation. There was a price to pay for these affiliations with unsavory characters. One, Valerie Solanas, shot him in 1968; others committed suicide or died of a drug overdose. Much of what he did in the early ‘60’s partly reflects his Orthodox Church upbringing – but he made everyday objects into icons. He literally filtered them in a very special way. Andy also made several underground films. One was called “Kitchen”; here is Andy’s description of it (page 223): “[it] was illogical, without motivation or character, and completely ridiculous. Very much like real life.” The Factory started to change in the early 1970’s Page 376: John Richardson “The speed freaks and the transvestites gave way to high bohemia’ Andy started to paint celebrities as part of his pursuit and obsession with fame. He was criticized for this – going commercial again. But he was not the only artist who did portraits for money; Renoir did the same with affluent clients in Paris. Andy was always moving towards the unconventional no matter what he was doing. This is a rollicking biography of one of the most public artists in America. It captures the New York scene of the era and its’ really outlandish – much like Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side”. Page 277 [Warhol] knew better than any one the value of negative publicity

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mia Spinelli

    I gave this book three stars because, though it was well written, it unearthed a terrible side of Andy to me that I never knew. I was excited to read about his rise to stardom from a humble beginning, but I soon learned that he wasn't a very good person and he took advantage of those around him. The soup can and silk screen paintings werent even his idea. And he directed more porn than he did make paintings. I was very disappointed, but not in Bockris' writing. He was very good. Though Andy's li I gave this book three stars because, though it was well written, it unearthed a terrible side of Andy to me that I never knew. I was excited to read about his rise to stardom from a humble beginning, but I soon learned that he wasn't a very good person and he took advantage of those around him. The soup can and silk screen paintings werent even his idea. And he directed more porn than he did make paintings. I was very disappointed, but not in Bockris' writing. He was very good. Though Andy's life was tragic, it was very interesting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debra Komar

    A fascinating glimpse into a man that was either incredibly shallow or deceptively profound. My money is on shallow. One of the most interesting aspects of Warhol is watching art critics and academics read meaning into his work that Warhol himself insisted was "nothing" and "pointless." I think what makes Warhol so compelling is that he revealed the ridiculous nature of art criticism for what it was. That book itself is good, not great. Much of it is drawn from other sources, although there are A fascinating glimpse into a man that was either incredibly shallow or deceptively profound. My money is on shallow. One of the most interesting aspects of Warhol is watching art critics and academics read meaning into his work that Warhol himself insisted was "nothing" and "pointless." I think what makes Warhol so compelling is that he revealed the ridiculous nature of art criticism for what it was. That book itself is good, not great. Much of it is drawn from other sources, although there are a few interviews in it. Worth a look.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    This is a brilliant book about Andy Warhol. I read it while I was in Art College (I got it in the college library!) Bockris has written a few biographies of cultural "stars". He writes in a way that keeps the reader interested and feeling like they are part of the "scene". Definitely due a re-read... If I can get my hands on a copy! This is a brilliant book about Andy Warhol. I read it while I was in Art College (I got it in the college library!) Bockris has written a few biographies of cultural "stars". He writes in a way that keeps the reader interested and feeling like they are part of the "scene". Definitely due a re-read... If I can get my hands on a copy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea van Wyk

    "Few people have seen my films or paintings, but perhaps those few will become more aware of living by being made to think about themselves. People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly." - Andy Warhol I was introduced to the art of Andy Warhol in Art History when I was 15. I've adored him ever since. I've read a lot about this artist, one of the greatest of the 20th century, and arguably its most imp "Few people have seen my films or paintings, but perhaps those few will become more aware of living by being made to think about themselves. People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly." - Andy Warhol I was introduced to the art of Andy Warhol in Art History when I was 15. I've adored him ever since. I've read a lot about this artist, one of the greatest of the 20th century, and arguably its most important because he changed EVERYTHING - art was never the same again. There are many biographies about this enigmatic man, but it wasn't until I discovered Victor Bockris' that I felt I could begin to understand Warhol. Bockris, who knew Warhol personally and was part of his posse, draws you into the artist's world. The book is a meaty one (my copy had over 500 pages) but I could not put it down and finished it in a couple of days. I had borrowed it from a friend and now want my own copy so I can read it again and again. Bockris begins with Warhol's Eastern European roots (his parents emigrated to the US from what is now known as eastern Slovakia) and explores the impact of poverty on Warhol, who later celebrated money and consumerism in his work. He tells of Andy's development from a commercial to fine artist, the animosity of other 'fine' artists to Andy's work, the intentional mystery and irony Andy created around himself, and Andy's constant need for approval. Warhol was a lonely and self-conscious figure but managed to create a persona, an alter-ego in the manner of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, a charisma that attracted the rich and famous. "Who was Andy Warhol?" Bockris asks. "Was he, as Time magazine had persisted in vilifying him, the supreme 'huckster of hype'? Or was he, as his legions of collectors and followers insisted, a seer whose vision captured the true, ephemeral fragmentation of our time? And the man: was he, as many claimed, a modern Mephistopheles, coldly indifferent to the self-destructiveness that overtook so many who had pledged allegiance to him, including one deranged groupie who had tried to assassinate him? Or was he, as others said, something of a 'saint'?" This book is a must-read not only for fans of Warhol but anyone who wants to understand the Baby Boomer-era and the seminal artist of that time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carleen

    So what a freak and a weirdo Warhol was. But we knew that. I’ve always loved his work, and after reading this book so admire his gumption for sticking to his guns and creating what his heart tell them to create. I wasn’t aware of the number of films he made! Among them, TRASH and HEAT,both of which Netted worldwide acclaim from critics. Yes, there was a string of suicides, druggies, homosexuals, transvestites, you name it who followed and composed the entourage of Andy Warhol. Andy, whil not the So what a freak and a weirdo Warhol was. But we knew that. I’ve always loved his work, and after reading this book so admire his gumption for sticking to his guns and creating what his heart tell them to create. I wasn’t aware of the number of films he made! Among them, TRASH and HEAT,both of which Netted worldwide acclaim from critics. Yes, there was a string of suicides, druggies, homosexuals, transvestites, you name it who followed and composed the entourage of Andy Warhol. Andy, whil not the warmest human being, obviously loved the company of these people who truly did seem to inspire him. According to the author, he was pretty lonely when left to his own devices, with no company around. He attracted crazy people, selfish narcissistic people, and the like; he also eventually developed the knack for surrounding himself with people who would help catapult his fame, not to mention his art and creativity, including the likes of Fred Hughes, who according to the book, did all and more that was expected of him. And he appreciated him probably more than any of the others. Decadent lives lived during decadent times in the 60s and 70s. Yet from it all arose the beauty that was Andy’s art. It’s hard to tell if he was meek and mild, or shy and insecure, or simply brilliantly quiet. His mind and creativity are unquestionable though. He was detached from people for whatever reason, but he was one with his art. This is a big book and somewhat of a slow read, because the author has included so many unnecessary details and stories, but still, I just couldn’t put it down till I had finished it. And I’m glad I did.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lariste

    An effective and indepth look at the life, mileu and impressions of Warhol's life and world. It's hard to absorb his "art" - such as it is, a type of postmodern comment on advertising culture and mass media banalities as being terribly authentic; many claimed he was a fraud then, and do now. But the reality is Warhol, and the entire movement of films, art, rock music, interviews, branding, visibility did capture a certain moment. The Velvet Underground's albums are sometimes overrated, and the att An effective and indepth look at the life, mileu and impressions of Warhol's life and world. It's hard to absorb his "art" - such as it is, a type of postmodern comment on advertising culture and mass media banalities as being terribly authentic; many claimed he was a fraud then, and do now. But the reality is Warhol, and the entire movement of films, art, rock music, interviews, branding, visibility did capture a certain moment. The Velvet Underground's albums are sometimes overrated, and the attempt to shoot Warhol was really more just the intrusion of an unstable American (with A GUN, of course, I don't think there was anything in Warhol's demeanor or business that incited gender-based violence), yet these two part of the pop culture myth are sorta inseparable from the name and face. At any rate, this book is quite readable and succinct, it appeared Bockris has done extensive work - his reputation depends on it I guess - and I've not read of anything contradicting the biography of events here. Ultimately, pop art isn't that fascinating or emotionally involving. . . somewhat better than the 50s "abstract" works of Pollock etc, basically marketing splotches and flicks of paint that was later backed internationally by the CIA! (and no, that's not a rumour). Anyway, here you can find details of Warhol's poverty, his climb to fame, his financial break through in advertising, the socialites and New York party people that associated with the Factory modern art scene in it's heyday and so on - more a book for fans of the era than the somewhat lifeless graphic design images that populate the artists main output.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Judy G

    I continue my reading of Warhol and his scene his group his films his life. As I wrote that I realize I dont think Warhol was able to have "his" life. Everything with him was lived out there. This book and there are two editions was done in 1989 two y after his death. I think Bockris was recognized as Warhol's biographer. There was first an edition from UK and with different title and then this. One book I read said this was not the real one and it was filled with "gossip" reading all these books I continue my reading of Warhol and his scene his group his films his life. As I wrote that I realize I dont think Warhol was able to have "his" life. Everything with him was lived out there. This book and there are two editions was done in 1989 two y after his death. I think Bockris was recognized as Warhol's biographer. There was first an edition from UK and with different title and then this. One book I read said this was not the real one and it was filled with "gossip" reading all these books mostly by people who knew him and lived in those times that era I read of the same occurrences with his people. He did know Warhol yet he has his views which are mostly positive ... to be continued...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily Cyr

    I only knew Warhol through Campbell’s soup and a trip to the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh as a kid and wow, is that just scratching the surface. This book is great in that the author doesn’t try to make any resounding character judgements of Warhol, and fills it heavily with other people’s impressions of him. This results in a confusing personality that is closer to the reality of Andy as a real human being than a character.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rehan Qayoom

    He seemed one of those helpless people that you just know nothing's ever going to happen to. Just a hopeless born loser, the loneliest, most friendless person I'd ever seen in my life. (Truman Capote). He seemed one of those helpless people that you just know nothing's ever going to happen to. Just a hopeless born loser, the loneliest, most friendless person I'd ever seen in my life. (Truman Capote).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hannele Pennanen

    I love Andy Warhol’s works and it was fascinating to read about his life in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Really well researched book. But alas I was unable to finish. The selfindulgence characters were so dull. Would have been better with plates of some of the art it discusses.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Very interesting to read about Andy Warhol’s childhood though the rest of the book is boring AF. I’m sure there’s far better biographies on him out there

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Blanchard

    Fascinating....Well-written, the best of the Warhol biographies....And who knew Jim Morrison was an asshole?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Warhol was more than just a complicated man and a talented artist. He was a scene; he was a coalescing point for a group of people that represented some intriguing aspects of American culture. I have never been a huge fan of his art, or his personality, or the bizarre, trashy Factory crowd, but I nonetheless find him fascinating. One can say without hesitation that he lived one of the most thought-provoking lives of the 20th century. And the people he attracted, despite their lack of talent or d Warhol was more than just a complicated man and a talented artist. He was a scene; he was a coalescing point for a group of people that represented some intriguing aspects of American culture. I have never been a huge fan of his art, or his personality, or the bizarre, trashy Factory crowd, but I nonetheless find him fascinating. One can say without hesitation that he lived one of the most thought-provoking lives of the 20th century. And the people he attracted, despite their lack of talent or discipline, were noteworthy for their excessiveness and willingness to crash thru boundaries of all kinds. This is a good popular biography. The tone is light and not scholarly, but not dumb either. Bockris portrays Warhol from a variety of perspectives. To some, he was a genius; to others, the devil himself. He maintains a sense of humor and some affection toward his difficult subject, for despite his greed and manipulativeness, Warhol was an amusing character. Andrei Warhola was the son of Ruthenian Ukrainian immigrants who grew up in a working class part of Pittsburgh. As a boy he became fascinated with glamor and discovered his talent for drawing. He worked hard, as he did thruout his life, and after graduating from Carnegie Tech, he moved to New York. He became a very successful commercial artist, but he longed to be known as a painter. He struggled for a while and sucked up to the right people before breaking thru to the big time in the early 1960s with his Campbell's Soup can paintings. This idea came from someone other than Andy, as did many of the other ideas in his works. Warhol was kind of clearinghouse of ideas, trends, and even people. He loved fame and money, perhaps to help compensate for his own shy, voyeuristic personality. A gay man, he had trouble connecting with others both emotionally and physically. The wildest part of the book concerns the Factory scene that grew up spontaneously around Warhol in the mid 1960s. Located at 231 East 47th Street in Manhattan, the Factory started out as a painting studio, but odd characters began hanging around, and it turned into a luny social scene and movie studio for a group of mostly gay men and strung out women. By the 1970s, after Warhol was almost shot dead by Valerie Solanis, things had become more bourgeois and businesslike. Like so many others, "Drella" (a nickname for Andy, a combination of Dracula and Cinderella) did his best work in the 1960s, using photo silkscreens and a dramatic sense of color to great affect. I developed a little more sympathy for him from reading this book, but I still find him a fairly despicable figure for his blase greed and heartlessness.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nade

    The life and Death of Andy Warhol by Victor Bockris is a interesting and gripping account of every aspect of the controversial artist's life. It provides extensive detail about his whole life-Andy's early childhood in Pittsburg, his relationship with his mother and the rest of his family throughout his life, his carrier as a public artist, his involvement in film making, and other art media, his relationship with friends, groupies, fans and employees, his conflicting public image- namely that of The life and Death of Andy Warhol by Victor Bockris is a interesting and gripping account of every aspect of the controversial artist's life. It provides extensive detail about his whole life-Andy's early childhood in Pittsburg, his relationship with his mother and the rest of his family throughout his life, his carrier as a public artist, his involvement in film making, and other art media, his relationship with friends, groupies, fans and employees, his conflicting public image- namely that of the hated poser who corrupts pop culture, and that of the artist that IS pop culture. I enjoyed the portrayal of the party scene of the 60s and 70s in New York. The only part of the book I did not like were the last chapter and the afterword- they seemed rushed, with little detail compared to the rest of the book, and hardly any mention at all about his legacy and what became of the Andy Warhol Enterprises after Andy's death. However, this book superbly conveys the life of a man, that is hard to imagine, believe let alone live. Andy's creativity, ambition and ability to shock everyone and non-stopping involvement with so many people, art media, in so many places is stunning. Above all, Bockris's book proof that no matter what people thought of him, Andy Warhol impacted 20th century art and pop culture unlike any other artist.

  21. 5 out of 5

    K

    To be honest, I didn't really like that book. I mean, it's actually hard to say what I think about it cause different opinions are mixed together in my head. When someone asks me if I liked it, I say I didn't. It's just a book full of facts, some of them more useful than the others, but it's written in a very boring style. The stories described there do excite you, but to get to the point of a story, you have to get through words which are not put together in the best way. The writing style makes To be honest, I didn't really like that book. I mean, it's actually hard to say what I think about it cause different opinions are mixed together in my head. When someone asks me if I liked it, I say I didn't. It's just a book full of facts, some of them more useful than the others, but it's written in a very boring style. The stories described there do excite you, but to get to the point of a story, you have to get through words which are not put together in the best way. The writing style makes me forget how I fell in love with Andy. I relate to him a lot (it's weird that I always relate to people who are considered freaks) and I also can't verbalize how fascinating he is. You just read that book and you think you'd love to know what was going on in Andy's head - this is why I think a few months of struggling to finish this book were worth it. So, just to summarize: Andy himself and the stories described in the book are great, but I wish it was someone else who wrote it all down.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ace Wall

    I was in my university library when I an Andy Warhol book which featured his 1980s paintings. I was entranced by the book. Like a lot of artists if you just look at his famous stuff your missing out. He did illustrations, drawings, films and plenty of photography. This book is a great for understanding the artist and the pop era that he helped start. For me personally I loved it, but I'm a big Andy fan. The 1960s factory time is the most fun part of the book because of all the characters that we I was in my university library when I an Andy Warhol book which featured his 1980s paintings. I was entranced by the book. Like a lot of artists if you just look at his famous stuff your missing out. He did illustrations, drawings, films and plenty of photography. This book is a great for understanding the artist and the pop era that he helped start. For me personally I loved it, but I'm a big Andy fan. The 1960s factory time is the most fun part of the book because of all the characters that were in and out of there at the time. Andy forever changed art and the way we think about it today. His interviews of the 60s were so great because he acted like he didn't care about his art or pop art. When asked "Andy do you think pop art has reached the point of redundancy?" Andy: "Yes".

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert Maier

    Obsessively detailed, which is wonderful. The writing is gritty and edgy and fits the downtown art/rock scene. I liked how he showed the good, bad and ugly. Watching the PBS documentary on Warhol rounded out the experience. I've read several of Warhol's books, and this really fleshes them out too. Warhol was indeed a very complex person, and it seems even Bockris doesn't know what to make of him much of the time. Warhol is who he is. It doesn't matter what a reader thinks of him. He was a giant Obsessively detailed, which is wonderful. The writing is gritty and edgy and fits the downtown art/rock scene. I liked how he showed the good, bad and ugly. Watching the PBS documentary on Warhol rounded out the experience. I've read several of Warhol's books, and this really fleshes them out too. Warhol was indeed a very complex person, and it seems even Bockris doesn't know what to make of him much of the time. Warhol is who he is. It doesn't matter what a reader thinks of him. He was a giant of his time, and a hundred years from now may be one of a handful of artists from the cultural revolution of the 60s-80s who will be studied and remembered. Bockris' book will be a treasure trove of details for grateful art history students.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

    Bockris' book is probably essential if you're interested in Warhol's life. It's crammed with details and covers the whole spectrum. But the book as a whole reads more like an extensive collection of notes than as a biography. Bockris gathers details but doesn't synthesize them. There's no big picture, and little narrative. And the writing...well, it could've used a better editor, or at least a proofreader. The flaws aren't fatal, but there's plenty of room out there for a smarter, snappier bio o Bockris' book is probably essential if you're interested in Warhol's life. It's crammed with details and covers the whole spectrum. But the book as a whole reads more like an extensive collection of notes than as a biography. Bockris gathers details but doesn't synthesize them. There's no big picture, and little narrative. And the writing...well, it could've used a better editor, or at least a proofreader. The flaws aren't fatal, but there's plenty of room out there for a smarter, snappier bio of one of America's seminal artists.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sashiko

    I couldn't possibly finish this, it was a struggle getting this far. Andy was a visionary and a product of his environment. Kind of creating the obvious to the point of where his contemporaries thought his work was trash. Kept ping ponging between being utterly bored, finding a few of his quirks cute but sad. But he was also kind of a douchey psychopath who didn't pay his employees who had way too many insecurities. Taking it out on everyone around him, especially his poor mother who wound up li I couldn't possibly finish this, it was a struggle getting this far. Andy was a visionary and a product of his environment. Kind of creating the obvious to the point of where his contemporaries thought his work was trash. Kept ping ponging between being utterly bored, finding a few of his quirks cute but sad. But he was also kind of a douchey psychopath who didn't pay his employees who had way too many insecurities. Taking it out on everyone around him, especially his poor mother who wound up living in his basement with no life of her own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lia Nickol

    Gregory Markopoulous, was quoted as saying: "Here I spent ten years studying my craft, perfecting my craft, understanding, thinking, theorizing about movies and how they're made and what a movie really is, and this guy comes along who does absolutely nothing and knows absolutely nothing. Other people have to set his camera up, load it, focus it, and he just shoots nothing and he's the biggest thing going!" L Gregory Markopoulous, was quoted as saying: "Here I spent ten years studying my craft, perfecting my craft, understanding, thinking, theorizing about movies and how they're made and what a movie really is, and this guy comes along who does absolutely nothing and knows absolutely nothing. Other people have to set his camera up, load it, focus it, and he just shoots nothing and he's the biggest thing going!" L

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clownface3 Kinder

    I saw a Warhol exhibit at the Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, & found myself wondering what the intention of his art was. (I experience it as giving people the finger and laughing at everyone who calls a pile of shit "art" just because a personality is the engine behind it.) I loved this book for the unvarnished perspective on Warhol's life, work & cult of personality. Neither fawning nor derisive, I learned an enormous amount about him & didn't feel as if I were being led to any conclusions. I saw a Warhol exhibit at the Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, & found myself wondering what the intention of his art was. (I experience it as giving people the finger and laughing at everyone who calls a pile of shit "art" just because a personality is the engine behind it.) I loved this book for the unvarnished perspective on Warhol's life, work & cult of personality. Neither fawning nor derisive, I learned an enormous amount about him & didn't feel as if I were being led to any conclusions.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    it really should be 3.5 stars but whatever...it's a good read. lots of good information but it could go deeper. my main problem is with how it's laid out, jumping from time to time from one personal account to another rather than giving any kind of big picture for one time period if that makes any sense. it really should be 3.5 stars but whatever...it's a good read. lots of good information but it could go deeper. my main problem is with how it's laid out, jumping from time to time from one personal account to another rather than giving any kind of big picture for one time period if that makes any sense.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I struggle to continue my "fan" status after reading. There's so many things about Andy I love and moments I truly adore, but gosh, there's a whole lot of ugly. There are very nice details and plenty of insight and information on Andy, his associates and his times. The author is clearly in the know. I struggle to continue my "fan" status after reading. There's so many things about Andy I love and moments I truly adore, but gosh, there's a whole lot of ugly. There are very nice details and plenty of insight and information on Andy, his associates and his times. The author is clearly in the know.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    I am intrigued by Andy Warhol. Not sure if its just a Pittsburgh thing! It was pretty cool in the start of the book to read about local PGH places but as the book progressed it got pretty boring with all the names of New York's "Pop" artists that weren't familiar to me. All and all it was pretty good. I am intrigued by Andy Warhol. Not sure if its just a Pittsburgh thing! It was pretty cool in the start of the book to read about local PGH places but as the book progressed it got pretty boring with all the names of New York's "Pop" artists that weren't familiar to me. All and all it was pretty good.

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