A man who created portraits of the rich and powerful, Andy Warhol was one of the most incendiary figures in American culture, a celebrity whose star shone as brightly as those of the Marilyns and Jackies whose likenesses brought him renown. Images of his silvery wig and glasses are as famous as his renderings of soup cans and Brillo boxes—controversial works that elevated commerce to high art. Warhol was an enigma: a partygoer who lived with his mother, an inarticulate man who was a great aphorist, an artist whose body of work sizzles with sexuality but who considered his own body to be a source of shame.
In critic and poet Wayne Koestenbaum’s dazzling look at Warhol’s life, the author inspects the roots of Warhol’s aesthetic vision, including the pain that informs his greatness, and reveals the hidden sublimity of Warhol’s provocative films. By looking at many facets of the artist’s oeuvre—films, paintings, books, “Happenings”—Koestenbaum delivers a thought-provoking picture of pop art’s greatest icon.