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The Warhol Foundation

Andy Warhol and Ulli Lommel on set of Cocaine CowboysAndy Warhol is name name well known to even the art neophyte. His legacy is such that decades after his death, he remains an influential figure and driving force in the world of contemporary art. His sudden death of unexpected surgery complications in 1987 left a wealth of art and personal effects behind. Andy Warhol’s will left the entire inventory and estate, with only a few exceptions for family, to the creation of a foundation dedicated to the “advancement of the visual arts.”


After bringing together all types from the art world, from educators and critics to artists and curators, the Foundation shaped an organized philanthropic group dedicated to ensuring that Warhol’s legacy of invention and artistic exploration can continue to impact the future of art for years.


The focus of the Warhol Foundation is supporting contemporary visual arts. The creation, presentation, and curation of the kind of art specifically that is experimental, challenging in nature, or under recognized. With placements in museums to ensure that Warhol’s work is accessible to public, as well as developing a better understanding of the impact of Andy Warhol’s work on modern art.


Known for his passionate mixture of the avant-garde with his pop sensibilities, within two years of his first gallery show “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans”, he was being written about in Time magazine. His entire life was, in some ways, an art piece in and of itself. He loved to change the rules: of art, of celebrity, of intent. The air the he cultivated in his loft “The Factory”, as well as in his art, was an air of high artifice. This led to a mixture of unreliable narrators about Warhol’s life, as well as an inexorable draw to his art. The pop culture iconography of his work, the soup cans, the cola bottles, the movie stars… did he paint these because he loved them, or did he paint them because he thought it all was rubbish? Is his work about the soullessness of consumptive modern commercialism, or is it a love affair with the garish and vulgar, a celebration of all things that ivory-towered fine art would reject?


And, in turn, Warhol created a much larger conversation about what art actually is. Why is a wooden crate painted to look like a Brillo box art, and an actual Brillo box itself is not? Or are they both art? Can art be anything it wants? Is there such a thing as art? Does one need technical training in the history and rules of artistic expression in order to know what art is? This is not to say that Warhol created the “art philosophy”, but he certain plopped himself right down in the middle of it.
From the Warhol Foundation’s website: “A strong commitment to freedom of artistic expression led the Foundation to play an active advocacy role for artists during the culture wars of the 1990s and continues to inform its support of organizations that fight censorship, protect artists’ rights and defend their access to evolving technologies in the digital age.”