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Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop

Review

Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop

It's not every day that one reads a biography so insightful and compelling that one wants to go learn more about the subject. I first encountered ANDY WARHOL: PRINCE OF POP as an excerpt in RUSH HOUR: Volume Two - Bad Boys. The excerpt, covering the central controversial period of Warhol's celebrity in the 1960s, excited me so much that I knew I had to read more.

The rest of the biography does not disappoint. Organized in a linear narrative, the book covers Warhol's life, from his early childhood as the sickly child of Eastern European immigrants to his death at the age of 58 of complications after routine surgery. It organizes each period into thematic chapters filled with interesting anecdotes, pithy Warhol aphorisms, and memories from people who were there at the time.

Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's extensive knowledge of the subject and in-depth research into Warhol's life make this book a treasure. It includes a timeline, a glossary of unfamiliar art terms, an extensive bibliography of sources, and is heavily illustrated with some of Warhol's most famous works. While intended as a biography for young adults, this book makes Warhol's life, work, and the art of his age accessible in a way that will appeal to readers of all ages.

One of the strongest aspects of the book is the authors' understanding and clear explanations of many of the art movements of the twentieth century. Also invaluable is the authors' illumination of the many processes Warhol used to produce his art, including painting, silk-screening, and experimental film.

It is difficult for biographers to avoid the trap of finding greatness in the origins of their subjects. This book contains many stories about the Warhol being drawn to art at an early age. However, the authors' careful plotting of the transformation of a shy and painfully awkward boy into the international celebrity also suggests that one of Andy's greatest creations was his own image as an artist.

ANDY WARHOL: PRINCE OF POP does not shy away from the racy subject matter of Warhol's experimental films or the raucous entourage he incorporated into his work in the 1960s. It also deals extensively, though not explicitly, with Warhol's homosexuality.

The work of Andy Warhol is so influential that even readers who do not know anything about him will probably recognize his famous paintings of Campbell soup cans, or his celebrity portraits silk-screened onto brightly colored backgrounds. Greenberg and Jordan's book is engaging and thought-provoking. It will undoubtedly set the standard for young adult biographies for years to come.

Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood on October 12, 2004

Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop
by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

  • Publication Date: December 11, 2007
  • Genres: Biography
  • Mass Market Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf
  • ISBN-10: 0385732759
  • ISBN-13: 9780385732758