When you think of artists, you’re not likely to think of books; however, Andy Warhol is the exception, as he’s put his name on a lot of them during his life. He is considered to be one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, having pioneered the style of Pop Art, which is notable for its abandonment of the nuance and soft-textures that had characterized the visual medium for centuries, replacing it with a straight-edged, glossy, and stylized façade. While his book titles reflect the energy of his painting style, their pulpy interiors discuss numerous topics and possess insights (visual and written) sure to enrich your life.
In celebration of his 93rd birthday, here are 5 must-read Andy Warhol books.
Though Andy Warhol is primarily remembered as an artist, he ensured that his legacy would contain more than the impressions induced by his work. In this short volume, he provides his knowledge gained during the heart of his prosperous career, attempting to answer life’s questions both mundane and profound. This is not your average philosophy book (and not just because it’s short); just as some of history’s greatest thinkers discussed the importance of art and expression, Andy Warhol was a person who actually made a living from such.
If you’re the type who enjoys reading other people’s diaries, it seems that Andy Warhol had a soft spot for you, since he published a book of his own accounts from the drama-filled life he lived. What makes this diary such a valuable read is the fact that he spent his life in close proximity with influential celebrities of the twentieth century–something your sibling probably can’t claim. Spanning the last decade of his life (mid-1970 to 1987), you’ll get to experience the artistic wonder of Andy Warhol up close during the prime of his time.
Have you ever bought a cookbook, expecting to become a five-star chef, only for it to spend its life protecting a rectangular segment of your coffee table from falling dust? Perhaps this book could change that. Yes, it’s true that Andy Warhol co-wrote a cook book. That’s just what you do when you’ve conquered the art industry. Inside, you’ll find recipes that will cause you to mutter an unplanned “WTF,” since they are unlike anything you’ll find in other cookbooks. A small sample of the names include Baked Hawaii and A&P Surprise. Since Andy Warhol is best known for his artwork, the book also contains 19 of his works scattered throughout.
There are some things that we do–behaviors that seem so natural–that we barely even realize how recently they appeared in our lives. One example is picture-taking. We do this obsessively today, but back before smartphones and the worldwide web, this constant gathering of visual information and experiences was not yet so embedded into our collective unconscious. America demonstrates Andy Warhol as being one of the first people who could compare with our modern photo-taking impulse. Andy Warhol, as stated in the Amazon description for this book, always had a camera with him to capture the momentary wonders of life–some beautifully normal–others eye-poppingly strange (such as Keith Haring skinny-dipping). This book evidences that Andy Warhol was not only a pioneer of Popup Art, but also of the image golden age.
Before social media was invented, people still had a thing for cats. Andy Warhol, as demonstrated in this book, not only enjoyed them, but seems to have fueled the modern obsession decades before the internet took hold. Containing both his cat illustrations and coined sayings, you’ll get the best of both of his worlds–the artistic and the literary.