Here’s Why Andy Warhol and Christmas Go Very Well Together

Do you love Christmas? Warhol did, and he had plenty of reasons to.

Unknown photographer, Andy Warhol and his Christmas tree in the Factory (1964) Photo: The Andy Warhol Museum via Facebook
An Andy Warhol Christmas tableau at the annual "Deck the Walls" holiday party at the New York Academy of Art. Photo: © 2015 New York Academy of Art.

An Andy Warhol Christmas tableau at the annual “Deck the Walls” holiday party at the New York Academy of Art.
Photo: © 2015 New York Academy of Art.

It seems that Andy Warhol really loved Christmas. In fact, a substantial portion of the legendary pop artist’s oeuvre explores this seasonal theme, and come to think of it, this might not be out of character.

After all, the notions of togetherness and friendship were very important to the artist. From the late 1950s until his death in 1987, Warhol was an integral component of New York’s creative community, and has been described by several of his contemporaries as the glue that held the legendary group of artists and New York’s downtown crowd together.

Andy Warhol Poinsettias Photo: Christie's

Andy Warhol, Poinsettias.
Photo: Christie’s.

Additionally, anybody that’s read anything about Warhol will know that he loved the chance to celebrate. The parties at Warhol’s Factory have become modern myths, and it goes without saying that the Christmas season offers plenty of chances to meet others. As the man himself proclaimed in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again: “I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.”

However, most pertinent in regards to Warhol’s body of work is the culture of consumerism that has come to define the modern tradition of Christmas celebrations.

Andy Warhol Myths (Santa) Photo: Christie's

Andy Warhol, Myths (Santa).
Photo: Christie’s.

Society’s relationship to consumption was something that Warhol addressed extensively in his art. With his Campbell’s Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes works (among many others), Warhol turned consumer items into works of art.

Warhol was also a deeply religious man—an aspect of the artist’s life that is often overlooked. As the son of Slovakian immigrants, Warhol was raised as a Catholic.

Andy Warhol Nativity Scene Photo: Christie's

Andy Warhol, Nativity Scene.
Photo: Christie’s.

The artist’s nephew, Donald Warhola, told the Catholic News Agency that his uncle “was a practicing Byzantine Catholic, and actually attended a Roman church later in his life,” adding that Warhol “was very religious, it was a very big part of his upbringing.”

Moreover, the commercial artist was also known to have volunteered regularly at homeless shelters.

Andy Warhol Colorado Photo: Christie's

Andy Warhol, Colorado.
Photo: Christie’s.

 

While the artist did explore his faith in his art—for example his 1986 screen print depicting The Last Supper, or the “Heaven and Hell” series—Jessica Beck, assistant curator of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh said the artist’s religious works were “under-researched” compared to “the Pop paintings of Campbell’s Soup or Coca-Cola, or the celebrity portraits.”

Andy Warhol Christmas Tree (ca. 1957) Photo: Harpers Bazaar Tumblr

Andy Warhol, Christmas Tree (ca. 1957)
Photo: Harper’s Bazaar Tumblr.


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