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Warhol: The Biography : 75th Anniversay Edition

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  668 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (19281987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive
Paperback, 586 pages
Published August 14th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Paul Bryant
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography

When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.


I have a problem with 90% of all modern art no make that 95%. To put this in context, I have a problem with 95% of everything, and thats on a good day. I hate Warhols stuff marginally less than Jasper Johns or Rauschenberg or well, lets not get into it. I quite like Andys electric chairs and car crashes amusingly, they didnt sell because
Paul Bryant
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography

I just watched the interesting, evocative and very sad movie I Shot Andy Warhol, which made me remember that Id read this biography some years ago. Goodreads is a real trip down memory lane sometimes oh, yeah, I remember that. Valerie Solanas shot Andy in 1968. She didnt kill his body but she killed something in his spirit. He wasnt the same guy afterwards. She was a radical lesbian who had formed an imaginary society called SCUM , the Society for Cutting Up Men.

She was crazy, but in 1967/8
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mus-art, sell
The first part of the book, until ca. 1970, is excellent. More detail and various perspectives on Warhol's artistic development you could not reasonably demand. I'm biased towards the period between about 1962 and 1968, more interested in hearing about the early Factory than anything else.
As many other people have said, the first few chapters are fascinating for the psychological 'case' that Bockris builds about the mature Warhol based on the childhood he describes in these introductory
Jonathon Hagger
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the beginning of this book the reader is drawn into a world of mystery and intrigue that was Andy Warhol. Excellently researched and very well written the story makes the journey of learning about Andy very pleasurable. There are lots of insights into the mixture of genius and eccentricity. I thoroughly enjoyed the book through to the mid70s when the style of writing changes and the tone changes from investigative biography to a blow by blow documentary. Overall an excellent read.
Mikey B.

(page 158, my book)
The interviewer asked, Do you think pop art is
No, Warhol replied
Do you think pop art is
No he replied, No, I dont

(Page 159) Marcel Duchamp
What concerns us is the concept that wants to put Campells soup cans on a canvas.

There are a great many descriptions of Warhol in this book, among others: genius, voyeur, village idiot, a phoney, a vampire

(Page 155): To at least one onlooker he seemed more like a white witch, looking at America from an alien and obtuse angle.

Mia Spinelli
I gave this book three stars because, though it was well written, it unearthed a terrible side of Andy to me that I never knew. I was excited to read about his rise to stardom from a humble beginning, but I soon learned that he wasn't a very good person and he took advantage of those around him. The soup can and silk screen paintings werent even his idea. And he directed more porn than he did make paintings. I was very disappointed, but not in Bockris' writing. He was very good. Though Andy's ...more
Debra Komar
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating glimpse into a man that was either incredibly shallow or deceptively profound. My money is on shallow. One of the most interesting aspects of Warhol is watching art critics and academics read meaning into his work that Warhol himself insisted was "nothing" and "pointless." I think what makes Warhol so compelling is that he revealed the ridiculous nature of art criticism for what it was. That book itself is good, not great. Much of it is drawn from other sources, although there are ...more
Andrea van Wyk
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Few people have seen my films or paintings, but perhaps those few will become more aware of living by being made to think about themselves. People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly." - Andy Warhol

I was introduced to the art of Andy Warhol in Art History when I was 15. I've adored him ever since. I've read a lot about this artist, one of the greatest of the 20th century, and arguably its most
Judy G
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue my reading of Warhol and his scene his group his films his life. As I wrote that I realize I dont think Warhol was able to have "his" life. Everything with him was lived out there.
This book and there are two editions was done in 1989 two y after his death. I think Bockris was recognized as Warhol's biographer. There was first an edition from UK and with different title and then this. One book I read said this was not the real one and it was filled with "gossip"
reading all these books
Hannele Pennanen
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Andy Warhols works and it was fascinating to read about his life in general. ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Really well researched book. But alas I was unable to finish. The selfindulgence characters were so dull. Would have been better with plates of some of the art it discusses.
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, art
Warhol was more than just a complicated man and a talented artist. He was a scene; he was a coalescing point for a group of people that represented some intriguing aspects of American culture. I have never been a huge fan of his art, or his personality, or the bizarre, trashy Factory crowd, but I nonetheless find him fascinating. One can say without hesitation that he lived one of the most thought-provoking lives of the 20th century. And the people he attracted, despite their lack of talent or ...more
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
The life and Death of Andy Warhol by Victor Bockris is a interesting and gripping account of every aspect of the controversial artist's life.
It provides extensive detail about his whole life-Andy's early childhood in Pittsburg, his relationship with his mother and the rest of his family throughout his life, his carrier as a public artist, his involvement in film making, and other art media, his relationship with friends, groupies, fans and employees, his conflicting public image- namely that of
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I didn't really like that book. I mean, it's actually hard to say what I think about it cause different opinions are mixed together in my head.

When someone asks me if I liked it, I say I didn't. It's just a book full of facts, some of them more useful than the others, but it's written in a very boring style. The stories described there do excite you, but to get to the point of a story, you have to get through words which are not put together in the best way. The writing style makes
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Seems to portray a reasonably fair portrait of the many facets of the enigmatic Warhol. A lot of times biographies paint their subjects with extreme reverence or contempt, but it seemed like Bockris provided a variety of vantage points on the subject, and it wasn't until the epilogue that the text dissolved into any hyperbolic praise from the author. The text is not sourced with footnotes but with a chapter by chapter bibliography -- this reduces interruptions in the text but also makes the ...more
Ace Wall
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in my university library when I an Andy Warhol book which featured his 1980s paintings. I was entranced by the book. Like a lot of artists if you just look at his famous stuff your missing out. He did illustrations, drawings, films and plenty of photography. This book is a great for understanding the artist and the pop era that he helped start. For me personally I loved it, but I'm a big Andy fan. The 1960s factory time is the most fun part of the book because of all the characters that ...more
Robert Maier
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Obsessively detailed, which is wonderful. The writing is gritty and edgy and fits the downtown art/rock scene. I liked how he showed the good, bad and ugly. Watching the PBS documentary on Warhol rounded out the experience. I've read several of Warhol's books, and this really fleshes them out too. Warhol was indeed a very complex person, and it seems even Bockris doesn't know what to make of him much of the time. Warhol is who he is. It doesn't matter what a reader thinks of him. He was a giant ...more
Feb 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Andy Warhol
Recommended to James by:
Shelves: andy-warhol
Bockris' book is probably essential if you're interested in Warhol's life. It's crammed with details and covers the whole spectrum.

But the book as a whole reads more like an extensive collection of notes than as a biography. Bockris gathers details but doesn't synthesize them. There's no big picture, and little narrative. And the writing...well, it could've used a better editor, or at least a proofreader.

The flaws aren't fatal, but there's plenty of room out there for a smarter, snappier bio
I couldn't possibly finish this, it was a struggle getting this far. Andy was a visionary and a product of his environment. Kind of creating the obvious to the point of where his contemporaries thought his work was trash. Kept ping ponging between being utterly bored, finding a few of his quirks cute but sad.

But he was also kind of a douchey psychopath who didn't pay his employees who had way too many insecurities. Taking it out on everyone around him, especially his poor mother who wound up
Lia Nickol
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gregory Markopoulous, was quoted as saying: "Here I spent ten years studying my craft, perfecting my craft, understanding, thinking, theorizing about movies and how they're made and what a movie really is, and this guy comes along who does absolutely nothing and knows absolutely nothing. Other people have to set his camera up, load it, focus it, and he just shoots nothing and he's the biggest thing going!"

Clownface3 Kinder
I saw a Warhol exhibit at the Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, & found myself wondering what the intention of his art was. (I experience it as giving people the finger and laughing at everyone who calls a pile of shit "art" just because a personality is the engine behind it.)

I loved this book for the unvarnished perspective on Warhol's life, work & cult of personality. Neither fawning nor derisive, I learned an enormous amount about him & didn't feel as if I were being led to any
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am intrigued by Andy Warhol. Not sure if its just a Pittsburgh thing! It was pretty cool in the start of the book to read about local PGH places but as the book progressed it got pretty boring with all the names of New York's "Pop" artists that weren't familiar to me. All and all it was pretty good.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans; art people; historians
Recommended to Shelley by: monte
it really should be 3.5 stars but's a good read. lots of good information but it could go deeper. my main problem is with how it's laid out, jumping from time to time from one personal account to another rather than giving any kind of big picture for one time period if that makes any sense.
I struggle to continue my "fan" status after reading. There's so many things about Andy I love and moments I truly adore, but gosh, there's a whole lot of ugly. There are very nice details and plenty of insight and information on Andy, his associates and his times. The author is clearly in the know.

Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting bio of war hole, the chapters on his early life are excellent and the relationship with his Mother. But would've been interested in more detail about his relationship with Edie and what really hapenned at The Factory
Granted, it's been a while since I read this, but I remember it to be a rather interesting biography about Andy Warhol. Not a bad choice if you are interested in the man behind the artist. If there ever was one.
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY enlightening & entertaining book on the artist, his world around him, who he influenced both negatively & positively (from Bowie to Dylan) and pop culture trends that are still "practiced" today. He was a manipulative little thing!
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very solid biography, even-handed, showing the great talents and faults of the artist. For a dedicated Warhol fan, it would have been fine to have a lengthier book, but this effort seems just right for the average reader.
Annie Matthys
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-art-history
A great intro. to one of the most fascinating figures of modern art.
GK Stritch
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! A bouncy, perversely comic ride.
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