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American plastic artist. Son of Slovak emigrants, he began his art studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology between 1945 and 1949. In this last year, already established in New York, he began his career as a cartoonist for various magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Seventeen and The New Yorker. At same time he painted canvases whose theme was based on some element or image of the daily environment, advertising or comic. He soon began exhibiting in various galleries. Gradually he eliminated any feature of Expressionism until he reduced the work to a serial repetition of a popular element from mass culture, the world of consumption, or the media.
This evolution reached its maximum level of depersonalization in 1962, when he began to use as a method of work a mechanical process of silkscreen, through which systematically reproduced myths of contemporary society and whose examples are the most representative examples of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor or Mao Tse-
This appropriationism, constant in the works of supporters of pop art, extended to works of art of universal character and of authors like Rafael, De Chirico, Munch or Leonardo. The works of this period are characterized by their free manipulation and the controversy they aroused at the time. Both by the use of color, sometimes monochrome and other strongly contrasted, but in any case alive and brilliant, as by the theme, his work is always provocative and often distressing. Through mass reproduction he succeeded in stripping the media fetishes he used of his usual referents, to turn them into stereotyped icons with a mere decorative meaning. Another outstanding aspect of his work is his powerful visual power, which comes largely from his knowledge of the mechanisms of the advertising media. In 1963 he created the Factory, a workshop where many characters from New York's underground culture gathered around him. The frivolity and extravagance that marked his way of life established in the end a coherent line between work and life trajectory; His peculiar aspect, androgynous and permanently touched with a characteristic blond bangs, ended up defining a new icon: the artist himself.
In fact, he was one of the first creators to consciously exploit his image with self-
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