The Case For Andy Warhol | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios

heard of Andy Warhol and you know he did the
soup cans and the portraits. But today, I want to tell
you why his work really is interesting and worth
your consideration. Here’s the case for Andy Warhol. You know him to look like this. But Andrew Warhola
was born in Pittsburgh to Slovakian immigrant
parents and started out looking like this. He grew up sickly and
spend a lot of time at home drawing with his mom. But he eventually
escaped to New York, after graduating from
Carnegie Tech in 1949. He changed his name and
quickly became a success as a commercial illustrator. He developed a
signature technique that allowed him to trace
and copy images and create a delicate blotted line. It was an early instance of
his affinity for automation or finding other people
or processes that do the work for and with him. He was determined to make it in
the field of so-called fine art and started shopping
for a way in. Instead of making art
for advertisements, he started making
advertisements as art, choosing subject matter
that would find traction with the emerging
field of pop art. He made paintings of Coca
Cola; S&H green stamps; and, of course,
Campbell’s soup cans. He saw these things
as a common language, saying what’s great about this
country is that America started the tradition where the richest
consumers by essentially the same things as the poorest. And it wasn’t about the
individual things so much as the sheer
abundance of things, which reflected the spread of
mass manufacturing and growing postwar American
consumer culture. Warhol started out
using rubber stamps and stencils to make
these paintings. But soon landed
on silk screening as a way to speed things up. He created his
well-known factory and set to work with
assistants, rolling out product after product, displaying them
in warehouse-like arrangements. He was also interested in
products of the human variety and started making
paintings of celebrities, reproducing images from
publicity stills, newspapers, and magazines, making shrew
commentary on the celebrity as commodity. There are number of subjects
that recur Warhol’s work, shoes, products, money,
celebrities, rich people, disaster, death, himself; shoes,
products, money, celebrities, rich people, disaster,
death, himself. But these weren’t just
Warhol’s obsessions. They are deeply reflective
of the culture of the time. If you ascribed to the theory
that the 20th century was the American century,
then Warhol’s work takes on even more importance. His work charts the
development of our obsession with fame and questions the
growing commercialization and uniformity of most
areas of American life. Warhol was an extremely
astute businessperson, who formed his first
corporate entity, Andy Warhol Enterprises, in 1957. And he never really
stopped working for hire. He made thousands of
commissioned portraits, the first of which was this one
of art collector Ethel Scull, based on photos taken
by a machine or rather a photo booth. By the 1970s,
commissioned portraits were a solid chunk
of Warhol’s income. Anyone could have their
portrait made for $25,000, with additional canvases
available at discounted rates. Along with his services,
Warhol was also keen to trade on his
own image, creating numerous self-portraits
throughout his career and offering himself
up for endorsements. And, of course,
Warhol was not just an artist, but also a
filmmaker, band manager, magazine publisher,
and TV producer, who fearlessly explored
and embraced new media. From the 1950s until his
untimely death in 1987, Warhol was a shape shifter,
always open to the new, always innovating, and
always reflecting the time. Like Jay Z, but far
earlier, he understood that to be an artist
in a market economy meant not being a businessman,
but being a business, man. And he turned himself into
a globally recognized brand. People debate whether
Warhol defined an ad-driven, factory-made
culture or was defined by it. But his work remains important
because what mattered to Warhol proved prophetic. People called him a sellout. But by laying bare the
relationship between commerce and art, Warhol nullified
the very idea of a sellout. And in the process
made possible the work Jeff Koons, Shepard Fairey, and
so many contemporary artists. [MUSIC PLAYING]


  • frankie the alien

    Awesome video, I hope there is going to be more more in this style

  • Laura Knaus

    He's one of my favorite artists. He's so interesting.

  • AliensWearSunglasses

    I absolutely loved the video but i wish it was just slightly slower so i could catch a mental breath between the topics

  • judson frondorf

    he was right, we've all been famous for 15 minutes…

  • Leah Buchholz

    As a long time viewer, but yet to be participant of the Art Assignment, I must say that I really adore this channel. This video embodies your ability to communicate key turning points in art history in an accessible format for the general public. Thank you for hosting this channel and bringing art to the masses. 🙂

  • Meg Gilbert

    Very edifying. I didn't know any of this. Excellent.

  • Revolver Gallery - Your Andy Warhol Specialists

    Such an interesting video. We learned even more about Warhol – and we're specialists! 🙂 @The Art Assignment

  • kaysyconundrum

    I LOVED this video and would love to see more like it on this channel! Though I already really like all the videos on this channel anyway, so either way I'm happy! hahaha

  • busvlogger

    I'm really digg'n these "The Case For.." videos! A Jay-Z reference, I love you.

  • Florence Yee

    This type of art education is so SO important for everyone to understand and to not alienate artists as "others" of common knowledge and empathy. Thank you for creating these videos!

  • Mario Nardi & Usde

    Comparing Andy Warhol to Jay Z is blasphemy..

  • Anne Kohn

    Could there be a Case for Georges Seurat or Salvador Dali?

  • Moore Stories

    "Girl with ball" is shown at 0:52 and I think it's a Liechtenstein. Some of my grade eleven students also noticed this when I showed them the video. Was it intentional to include a Lichtenstein piece in this video about Warhol or an accident?

  • Sarah Schultz

    @theartassignment you guys do a great job of educating us when museums aren't enough

  • RitaSijelmass

    For anyone who wants to see more a bit more of Warhol in a relaxed and entertaining state of mind (like this video): check out the movie "Factory Girl" where Sienna Miller stars as Edie Sedgwick, his muse and gorgeous right hand

  • Meredith Adams

    These "Case For" videos are fantastic. Please make more! 🙂

  • Laura Farr

    Now I really should visit the Mattress Factory.

  • NZT

    So. Much. Information. Must. Re.Watch.

  • Blurred Vertices

    Out of all the people to have existed in recent history, I still hate Andy Warhol the most.

  • Wael WM

    nice vid, but where can i find the audio in the background

  • Colleen King

    Im student teaching in a high school art class, I'd love to show this this video to my printmaking class but I think the pacing and academic language is going to stress my students out a bit! I hope the future of the art assignment goes more towards the vein of crash course, which I find more accessible for younger audiences.

  • Pedro Menchén

    great video 🙂

  • Brice Clifton

    I remain conflicted about Warhol, while deeply respecting him. For me, it's conceptual first, using mass production techniques to comment on mass consumption society – and a joke played on those who have the money to buy his work.
    You know the economy is messed up when the price of Warhols goes up.
    The bad registration shittyness is thumbing his nose at the 1%, while letting them imagine they have capital A R T art.
    It's genius.
    (F Jeff Koonz – Andy told that joke already.)

  • RasJam Kebraraw

    Surely the most overrated genius of all time… may I add…my opinion.

  • Nathan Crook

    jeff koons is shit

  • Noah Robert Graves

    There's a lot of heady (and I think false) analysis of Warhol and his work out there, but I think your particular analysis hit closer to the mark than any of them. Thanks for this video! 🙂

  • Fatih Hamzah

    Please do videos about art movement like Art Deco, Cubism, Minimalism, and so on..

  • Cubase 27

    Brilliant film. I'm studying Printmaking (specialising in Screen Printing) at the Royal College of Art and Warhol has been a huge influence not just for me, but the whole Screen Printing community around the world. It's interesting how some people look at Warhol's work at face value and are unable to comprehend the underlying strong message in his work, it goes over peoples heads, mostly because of peoples narrow and closed-minded views about what is and isn't art based on silly and poorly thought out arguments.

  • ЯЯ

    I saw Takashi Murakami in there

  • letsif

    Don't forget that his lifestyle and persona was also a work of art.

  • Maniac50AE

    Props for using that Jay-z line, its one of my favorites and its not a popular one but since you made a case for Kanye, its easy to see how you knew it.

  • Damilola

    It would be great if you did the case for Keith haring!

  • Kang Jing

    interesting, insightful, full of content.

  • DanielOlsson

    not an artist imo

  • Kjetil Molteberg

    I think Warhol is a coincidence of being at the right place at the right time, and his work should be phased out of conversations about art, and sidelined with "Kilroy was here" memoires…. In my opinion…

  • Eli's Animations & More

    So his message basically failed because people are consume more junk than ever before. Even artsy looking people are just superficially that way. He made the image more important than the subject matter. Cheap garbage is not cool.

  • Miruna Gheorghe

    Please do a video about Jean Michel Basquiat and neo-expressionism.

  • ParoAcharya1860

    I don't know how to respond.

  • ornella aribam

    the video is great but in between I can't stop seeing Kristen Wiig's character in the SNL sketch The Californians because of the narrator's voice.

  • Mike McGomer

    A terrible filmmaker. Lou Reed sang about his Muse Candy Darling, who was a transvestite prostitute. Wild Side" was a story song with a cast of characters that all came from the Andy Warhol Factory scene. "Little Joe" refers to Joe Dallesandro, who was in several films by Warhol. "Sugar Plum Fairy" is the nickname of actor Joe Campbell, while "Holly," "Candy," and "Jackie" are based on Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis, all real-life drag queens who appeared in Warhol's 1972 movie Women in Revolt.

    Reed discussed the subjects' proclivities in a matter-of-fact monotone: Candy "in the back room … was everybody's darling," Holly "shaved her legs and then he was a she," Little Joe "never once gave it away," Jackie "thought she was James Dean," and the Sugar Plum Fairy was "looking for soul food and a place to eat." He also refers to speed and valium, drug references that escaped the censor.

    But it was the reaction of the characters involved that he feared. "I thought they would all claw my eyes out when I got back to New York," the singer later admitted. "Instead, Candy Darling told me he'd memorized all the songs and wanted to make a 'Candy Darling Sings Lou Reed' album. It probably wouldn't sell more than a hundred copies!"

    It was not the first time Reed had written a song mentioning Darling. "Candy Says" opened the third Velvet Underground album but did not attract anything like the attention "Wild Side" got. (It's also rumored that the Kinks' "Lola" was inspired by Darling.)

  • Seokjinnie 💕

    love him so much, one of the artists i look up to

  • Janos Marothy

    The cat is out of the bag when you realize half of the video's running length isn't about his contribution to art, but a survey of all his ventures as a businessman. Being a celebrity-obsessed cynical philistine with nothing substantive to say about anything (seriously, read or watch any of his interviews – his irreverent glibness is one giant bluff) doesn't make you an insightful commentator on, let alone a critic of, consumerism or contemporary capitalism. It makes you… a celebrity-obsessed cynical philistine with nothing substantive to say about anything. The fact that he's famous (and that's kind of it really) is one of many indictments of our intelligentsia and the production of culture today.

  • Zenene1507

    Rich people

    Now I got it stuck in my head.

  • monkeymilk

    He's not a sellout, he just made art into another product for the rich and stupid. So fuck him.

  • Mike Bolwell

    My song "Becoming Andy", hope you love it like him.

  • Lordsheem

    Can you do Basquiat next?

  • Jake Bezdicek

    Anyone else binge watching?

  • fruitoson

    Andy Warhol is my dad

  • Zero Logic

    If you're looking to write down some things about Any for an assignment…I got ya'll covered:
    Gained artistic experience from drawing with his mother in youth.
    Changed his name to Andy Warhol
    His art is a commentary on post-war american culture
    Formed Andy Warhol Enterprises in 1957
    Worked later in career on almost exclusively portraits
    He was an artist, band manager, magazine publisher, film director, and TV producer

  • flavs Joseffo

    I'm glad Valerie shot him

  • Tran Hoang Hieu

    2:41 And an Burger eater too don't forget that

  • Guillaume Rusengo

    So, in America the rich and poor can afford the same Gucci bag?

  • Prognosisnauta

    Speak slowly please

  • studiocurtis

    Thank you Sarah!!! I've just watched several of your videos. You are a brilliant and insightful writer. I deeply appreciate your efforts in putting humanity back into the art world.


    Wowzers! Great Video (:

  • James Vela

    Beautiful summary.

  • Raghav Kapur

    A bit fast 💨 .. but amazing! 👍

  • Max Scribner

    Yo I PEEP that Jay Z quote

  • Izzy Bear

    Love it!Will you make a Case for Jay-z video? That would be amazing!

  • Roger Levy

    I can't like Andy Warhol's work. It just doesn't make me feel anything. I like Rothko by comparison.

  • Olga Kat

    I can not understad why you speak so quickly …. it is impossible to follow the thinking …

  • gio penn

    Plus Warhol was TRAD.

  • Blane Smith

    This video could just as easily be called "The case against Andy Warhol". (BTW, I just discovered this channel, think it's great, subscribed.)

  • Sonja Johnson

    His work makes me twitchy. Intellectually I can pin it down – it's damned uncomfortable to realize how our lives are entangled in a kind of machinery that we can't control and often can't even see clearly. It's uncomfortable to contemplate ourselves as cogs in the machine, as objects to be bought and sold. It doesn't change the facts of the world to contemplate that, either, and so it can make a person feel really, really helpless. And if you're already struggling with depression it's a serious problem to let yourself get dragged too far into such contemplation.
    Important, definitely – but like sandpaper on a sunburn for some. Or maybe just me, but that's okay.

  • Aaron Hart

    To me, his Coca-Cola painting was when Andy Warhol finally became Warhol the artist.

  • Frank Papandrea

    you speak waaayyy too fast

  • Philip Garcia

    What font are they using?

  • pop universe

    Shepard Fairy: the ripoff artist.

  • sus2731

    comparing Andy Warhol with Jay-Z….?

  • Johnathan Clark

    It’s strange how they say Warhol is a sell out but the Velvet Underground are punk/alternative pioneers.

  • Richard Lund

    So well said. I am still waiting for my fifteen minutes of fame.

  • elif sarsmaz

    Voice actor is horrible im saying as a non native english speaker. I slowed video for underdtand

  • Hanneke de Boer

    i'd really like to see a vid on keith haring, staying with the pop art theme

  • downrighthorizontal

    anyone else from pittsburgh? i've been to the warhol museum several times, it's a neat place

  • Orren Janis

    it was talkng about when was living whith his mo m and whith his mom they like to draw

  • Travis Odermatt

    Fartsy Artsey.

  • Abby Eagle

    Did he infringe copyright?

  • Gabriel McWethy

    I love Andy Warhol. He was also Catholic, and has many religious works.

  • SelfReferencingName

    So… not really a very good artist then?

  • Greggory Bradford

    liking warhol doesn't equate to giving permission for jeff koons. JK work practice is a two part story- an artist trapped between flavin and pop neodada that clearly and intelligently exploited art world myth and created relevant works challenging contemporary consumerism memeory/nostalgia/sentiment and identity- and the resurrection of a career after being taken to the cleaners by his exwife, this part two being the total crap. Shepherd fairy is not the same at all – the message grew out of satire and was meant to subvert the system.

  • Roman Nardone

    just because you make the connection between capitalism/commercialism and art doesn't mean he makes a statement about it. He just takes advantage of the system already in place and mass produces objects as his brand. Art is a conversation and the only thing he had to say is "value" and "buy!"

  • Rhyannon P

    so basically he became a brand that America bought , the rich and poor, so thats why we are still interested in him

  • Spark of Sirius

    At the end he took a huge dump on everyone and he got away with it. To understand Warhol you need to be
    Deeply superficial; not just superficial.

  • Rich Jay

    I’ve really enjoyed your The Case For videos!
    You should do one on Banksy.

  • Dudemyguy

    Nice, love the style

  • MissTwix

    Like jay z? What?!?! Uuuuuuuuugh!
    ——-Give me a friggin break. ——
    Why compare like this? Andy had a unique style. Jay z …. pah-eeeeeeze! I know you’re trying to get the new generation to understand but Jay Z hasn’t contributed the way that Andy did.

    On the Jay Z video you can mention Andy -that would be (kind of OK). You can educate JayZ’s crowd on ANDY WARHOL…. that is history. But Andy’s crowd (of whom would most likely click on this) doesn’t compliment .
    …jayz who is my generation… the contribution isn’t the same.

    jayz and Andy aren’t equals-no, it doesn’t go both ways.

  • qi xi

    who is it at 2:23?

  • Stephen Pare

    In 2019, it’s strange that he’s still considered a major figure.

  • R M

    The Jay Z joke was funny.

  • Cédric Bagein

    I wonder what Warhol would have come up with if he had computers and today's 3d programs…

  • EdonèFilms

    Andy Warhol (Galerie Art of Prague):

  • Franz Bi

    You wouldn't truly appreciate Art without the story of the artist.

  • Pat W

    Like this summary

  • André Augusto Siviero

    Still mediocre


    Andy could draw free hand anything – was the #1 commercial illustrator in NYC – he was a classically trained artist

  • peanut12345

    His "art" is all about "sellout", like money man, cool cat, see the "right" people of NYC.

  • lora gorodetsky

  • progressivelife

    I watched all of your "case for" videos and I find them all very eye opening, but Warhol just seems to me like a great businessman and a shitty artist.

  • Don Bailey

    Seen his work , dont care for it.
    Dont care for his philosophy.
    However he is a cross over from
    Commercial to fine art. But his idea of fine art leaves me cold.

  • Just a Fan Française

    Qui est là à cause de son prof d’anglais😂😂😭


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