He was one of the most enigmatic figures in American art. His work became the definitive expression of a culture obsessed with images. He was surrounded by a coterie of beautiful bohemians with names like Viva, Candy Darling, and Ultra Violet. He held endless drug- and sex-filled parties, through which he never stopped working. He single-handedly confounded the distinctions between high and low art. His films are pivotal in the formation of contemporary experimental art and pornography. He spent the final years of his life walking around the posh neighborhoods of New York with a plastic bag full of hundred dollar bills, buying jewelry and knick knacks. His name was Andy Warhol, and he changed the nature of art forever.
During Warhol's extended convalescence he began to work on a new mode of art. Considered his "Post-Pop" period, the images were primarily portraits of living superstars. Throughout the '70s and '80s, Warhol produced hundreds of portraits, mostly in silk screen. His images of Liza Minnelli, Jimmy Carter, Albert Einstein, Elizabeth Taylor, and Philip Johnson express a more subtle and expressionistic side of his work. During the final years of his life, Warhol became the hero of another generation of artists, including Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Francesco Clemente. Their work represents a continuation of an artistic revolution begun by Andy Warhol. On February 22, 1987, Warhol died of heart failure at his home in New York. Many suggested it was a poorly performed minor surgery he had had earlier that day, while others believed it was due to the general weakening of his body after the shooting. What remains certain is that during the sixty years of whirlwind and mystery that was Andy Warhol's life, the art world (and the world at large) became a more fun and interesting place.