The first thing that springs to mind when many of us think of Christmas, may not, up until this point, have been Andy Warhol. But it appears that Andy Warhol, late wizard of cool, actually adored Christmas, and created many works exploring the subject.
This may not be too surprising for those who personally knew him or have read a lot about Warhol; as it is well-known he relished any opportunity to celebrate – the parties at the now infamous Studio 54 a series of twisted Christmases themselves. Warhol even said of himself 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.” And what better excuse to Celebrate for a month, than Christmas?
But to say Warhol’s connection with Christmas was a mere celebratory one would be to simplify his association with the festival. For a start he was very religious, the son of two Slovakian immigrants, he was raised a catholic and attended Byzantine Catholic churches in his later years. His nephew Donald Warhola has said Warhol was “was very religious, it was a very big part of his upbringing.” Warhol was even reported to have volunteered in local homeless shelters.
However one of the most startling correlations between Warhol and Christmas is the idea of consumerism. Warhol made his name with his fascination with consumerism and the idea that consumer items, such as: Campbell’s Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes, could be turned in to works of art themselves. When we look at Christmas today, we see it more and more as a celebration of modern consumerism and the items we give or receive. So Christmas for Warhol encapsulated three of his main fascinations: religion, celebration and consumerism; his Holy Trinity. The results are quite beautiful, delicate; a far cry from the loud pop-art creations we usually associate with the mysterious man.