Celebrate Warhol's Bday with a Game of 4 Truths + a Lie
Whether you love him or hate him, Andy Warhol is without a doubt the most recognizable artist of the 20th century, and maybe the 21st too. To call his screen-prints of consumer objects and movie stars ‘iconic’ would be doing them an injustice—the Campbell’s soup can, the banana, Marilyn Monroe, all of them have become indelible parts of the fabric of pop culture itself. Sadly, Warhol died far too soon at the age of 58 in 1987, but his presence is quite clearly felt to this day. To celebrate the legend’s birthday, we’ve come up with a list of our favorite facts about the artist and his notoriously eccentric life. BUT, since so much of Warhol’s life is so widely known, we’ve included one snippet of information that is in fact, a lie. Comment your conclusions below, and happy hunting!
Andy Was Married to His Tape Recorder
While no legal ceremony ever took place, Andy insisted to the world that his always handy tape recorder was his wife, conveniently named ‘Sony.’ After being inspired by his friend and Factory starlet Brigid Berlin to start recording his conversations, Andy was rarely seen without his beloved bride. Everything from his phone calls to restaurant orders to notes on his art made it onto his tapes. This plethora of information inspired a play that Warhol titled ‘Pork,’ where it played in New York for a two week run in 1971.
Andy Starred in a Commercial for Burger King
In the late 70’s as Warhol began to cater to more and more to high-profile clients, he found his biggest client yet with Burger King. The fast food giant, attempting to bolster their sales, came up with the most ingenious ad ever: film Andy Warhol slowly eating a Whopper. The result was simultaneously the most insane and the most boring commercial of all time, a break from your scheduled programming with some performance art from the most famous artist in America. All together now: “My name is Andy Warhol and I just finished eating a hamburger.”
Andy Was Bedridden as a Child for Years
As little 8-year-old Andrew was growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, he fell victim to an illness known as St. Vitus’ Dance, a complication of scarlet fever. The symptoms included involuntary movement of his body and blotchiness to his skin, the latter of which affected him for the rest of his life. It wasn’t all bad; while bedridden he spent his days drawing, coloring, and collecting cut-outs of movie stars that he kept circled around him. Later, he would say that this period was largely responsible for his adult personality, interests, and skill-sets.
Andy Was an Avid Taxidermy Collector
We all have hobbies, but leave it to Warhol to invest his spare time in collecting taxidermied animals. A renowned hoarder, he accumulated everything from cookie jars to film cameras, but his (literal) stuffed animal collection was second to none. Some of his menagerie included a penguin, a lion, and a peacock, but most famous of all was a Great Dane named Cecil. Warhol purchased him for $300 believing him to have belonged to famed director Cecil B. DeMille, and he kept the stuffed dog stationed outside the door to the Factory for nearly two decades.
Andy Was Actually Dead for a Few Minutes
On June 3, 1968 radical feminist writer and one-time Warhol actress Valerie Solanas entered the Union Square Factory, shooting Andy Warhol and art critic/curator Mario Amaya. While the story behind the shooting has sparked countless books and even a film (I Shot Andy Warhol), by far one of the most interesting facts about the event is that Warhol died for a few minutes. After being rushed to the hospital, doctors declared the artist dead upon arrival before proceeding to massage his heart in order to revive him. Although he was literally resurrected, the shooting had severe effects on his physical and mental health, causing him to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life.
Read our interview with photographer and Factory regular Billy Name here