Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. On June 3, 1968, American radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and Mario Amaya, art critic, and curator, at Warhol’s studio. Earlier on the day of the attack, Solanas had been turned away from the Factory after asking for the return of a script she had given to Warhol. The script had apparently been misplaced. Amaya received only minor injuries. Warhol, however, was seriously wounded by the attack and barely survived: surgeons opened his chest and massaged his heart to help stimulate its movement again. He suffered physical effects for the rest of his life, including being required to wear a surgical corset. The shooting had a profound effect on Warhol’s life and art. Solanas was arrested the day after the assault. By way of explanation, she said that Warhol “had too much control over my life.” She was eventually sentenced to three years under the control of the Department of Corrections. Warhol had this to say about the attack: “Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all there. I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually, it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television—you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”

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