Twenty-five years ago today, America lost one of its most prolific artists and influential pop culture icons: Andy Warhol. Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh back in 1928, the artist spent his childhood drawing, snapping photos, and developing the images in the basement of his family’s two-bedroom apartment. After obtaining a degree in Pictorial Design from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), Warhol moved to New York City, where he enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist. Then came the Pop paintings, the fame, the Superstars, and The Factory. The ’70s ushered in a new publishing-focused era for Warhol, who released multiple artists’ books and co-founded Interview Magazine. He spent his nights at Studio 54, and made money by painting celebrity portraits of his famous friends. In the final decade of his life, Warhol collaborated with younger artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring, and worked on two of his own television shows. He also modeled in fashion shows.
Our point? Warhol was one busy bee, an artist who gave us myriad creative contributions in multiple genres. That said, the thing he’s probably best remembered for today is his prescient prediction that “in the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” You see, along with all of his other talents, the master of self-promotion was also quick with a phrase. Find a roundup of some of our favorite Warholian quips after the jump.
1. “Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.”
2. “Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”
3. “Art is what you can get away with.”
4. “I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”
5. “It’s not what you are that counts, it’s what they think you are.”
Self-Portrait (Passport Photographs, one with Altered Nose), 1956. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
6. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
7. “A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
8. “I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.”
9. “Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
10. “I never fall apart, because I never fall together.”
Photo credit: Jack Mitchell
11. “If everyone isn’t beautiful, then no one is.”
12. “I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.”
13. “I think it would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.”
14. “Making money is art, and working is art and good business is the best art.”
15. “When I look around today, the biggest anachronism I see is pregnancy. I just can’t believe that people are still pregnant.” – from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol and Truman Capote, 1978. Gelatin silver print. 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm.). The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 2001.2.178
16. “You have to do stuff that average people don’t understand because those are the only good things.”
17. “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.” – from Andy Warhol, Thirty Are Better Than One
18. “Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they’ll just have to learn how to be babies longer.”
19. “I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts.”
20. “Sex is the biggest nothing of all time.”
Andy Warhol’s TV [Season 2, Episode 6], 1983. 1″ videotape, color, sound, 30 minutes. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute, all rights reserved.
21. “When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.”
22. “People should fall in love with their eyes closed.”
23. “I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.”
24. “Being the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place is worth it because something interesting always happens.”
25. “I never think that people die. They just go to department stores.”