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Andy Warhol's quotations on popularity, sex, and art

Andy Warhol became famous not only because of his controversial art and outrageous antics, but also because of his loud and ambiguous statements. Who hasn’t heard his phrase about 15 minutes of fame? As he considered making art the same work as any other, he did not say much about his own oeuvre. But the artist loved to talk about his own undoubtfully outstanding person.
Andy Warhol's quotations on popularity, sex, and art
Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.

I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, everything should just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn’t be there. I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say 'figment'.

I think it would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Liz Taylor’s finger.

What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too.
  • Andy Warhol. Liz, 1964
  • Andy Warhol. Three Coke Bottles, 1962
  • Warhol signing a lithograph
    Along with monotypy, lithography belongs to the group of flat printing techniques, but this is where their similarities seem to end. Lithography appeared in 1796 or 1798, thanks to Johann Alois Senefelder, a typographer from Munich. Initially, they took an imprint from a drawing on a stone slab, usually limestone, which gave the name for the method (ancient Greek λίθος “stone” + γράφω “I write, draw”). Nowadays, instead of lithographic stone, zinc or aluminum plates are used, which are easier to process. Read more
    of Elizabeth Taylor, 1965. Photo by Bob Adelmancorbis, source -
  • Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol. Photo:
Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.

I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumours to my dogs.

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.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of 'work,' because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do.

I had a lot of dates, but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.

I can never get over when you’re on the beach how beautiful the sand looks and the water washes it away and straightens it up and the trees and the grass all look great. I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.

You’d be surprised how many people want to hang an electric chair on their living-room wall. Specially if the background color matches the drapes.
Andy Warhol. Electric chair
Electric chair
1963, 137.2×185.3 cm
Some people spend their entire lives thinking about one particular famous person. They pick one person who’s famous, and they dwell on him or her. They devote almost their entire consciousness to thinking about this person they’ve never even met, or maybe met once. If you ask any famous person about the kind of mail they get, you’ll find that almost every one of them has at least one person who’s obsessed with them and writes constantly. It feels so strange to think that someone is spending their whole time thinking about you.

The biggest price you pay for love is that you have to have somebody around, you can’t be on your own, wich is always so much better.

Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, "So what." That’s one of my favorite things to say. "My mother didn’t love me." So what. "My husband won’t ball me. So what. "I'm a success but I’m still alone." So what. I don’t know how I made it through all the years before I learned how to do that trick. It took a long time for me to learn it, but once you do, you never forget.

I just do art because I’m ugly and there’s nothing else for me to do.
Why do people spend their time being sad when they could be happy?

When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.

I don’t want to be smart, because being smart makes you depressed.

Why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

I’m not afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

If everyone isn’t beautiful, then no one is.

When you’re interested in somebody, and you think they might be interested in you, you should point out all your beauty problems and defects right away, rather than take a chance they won’t notice them. Maybe, say, you have a permanent beauty problem you can’t change, such as too-short legs. Just say it. "My legs, as you’ve probably noticed, are much too short in proportion to the rest of my body." Why give the other person the satisfaction of discovering it for themselves? Once it’s out in the open, at least you know it will never become an issue later on in the relationship, and if it does, you can always say, "Well I told you that in the beginning."

I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and the soup can was it.
Andy Warhol. Campbell's Tomato Soup
Campbell's Tomato Soup
1961, 88.9×58.4 cm
During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.

The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will.

Sex is the biggest nothing of all time.

I never wanted to be a painter; I wanted to be a tap dancer.

I really do live for the future, because when I’m eating a box of candy, I can’t wait to taste the last piece. I don’t even taste any of the other pieces, I just want to finish and throw the box away and not to have it on my mind any more. I would rather either have it now or know I’ll never have it so I don’t have to think about it.

Just because people throw it out and don’t have any use for it, doesn’t mean it’s garbage.

I’m really afraid to feel happy because it never lasts

Andy Warhol. The giant Panda
The giant Panda
1983, 96.5×96.5 cm
Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there — I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television — you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.

In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.
Andy Warhol. Flowers
1970, 91.8×91.6 cm
Title illustration: Andy Warhol. Self-Portrait

Quotations selected by Eugenia Sydelnykova