Warhol was gay. When interviewed in 1980, he indicated that he was still a virgin — biographer Bob Colacello who was present at the interview felt it was probably true and that what little sex he had was probably "a mixture of voyeurism and masturbation — to use his [Andy's] word abstract". Warhol's assertion of virginity would seem to be contradicted by an incident recounted by one biographer, his hospital treatment in 1960 for condylomata, a sexually transmitted disease. The fact that Warhol's homosexuality influenced his work and shaped his relationship to the art world is a major subject of scholarship on the artist and is an issue that Warhol himself addressed in interviews, in conversation with his contemporaries, and in his publications (e.g. Popism: The Warhol 1960s). Throughout his career, Warhol produced erotic photography and drawings of male nudes. Many of his most famous works (portraits of Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, and Elizabeth Taylor, and films like Blow Job, My Hustler and Lonesome Cowboys) draw from gay underground culture and/or openly explore the complexity of sexuality and desire. As has been addressed by a range of scholars, many of his films premiered in gay porn theaters. The first works that he submitted to a fine art gallery, homoerotic drawings of male nudes, were rejected for being too openly gay. In Popism, furthermore, the artist recalls a conversation with the film maker Emile de Antonio about the difficulty Warhol had being accepted socially by the then more famous (but closeted) gay artists Jasper Johnsand Robert Rauschenberg. De Antonio explained that Warhol was "too swish and that upsets them." In response to this, Warhol writes, "There was nothing I could say to that. It was all too true. So I decided I just wasn't going to care, because those were all the things that I didn't want to change anyway, that I didn't think I 'should' want to change... Other people could change their attitudes but not me". In exploring Warhol's biography, many turn to this period — the late 1950s and early 1960s — as a key moment in the development of his persona. Some have suggested that his frequent refusal to comment on his work, to speak about himself (confining himself in interviews to responses like "Um, no" and "Um, yes", and often allowing others to speak for him) — and even the evolution of his pop style — can be traced to the years when Warhol was first dismissed by the inner circles of the New York art world.
Warhol was a practicing Ruthenian Rite Catholic. He regularly volunteered at homeless shelters in New York, particularly during the busier times of the year, and described himself as a religious person. Many of Warhol's later works depicted religious subjects, including two series, Details of Renaissance Paintings (1984) and The Last Supper (1986). In addition, a body of religious-themed works was found posthumously in his estate.
During his life, Warhol regularly attended Mass, and the priest at Warhol's church, Saint Vincent Ferrer, said that the artist went there almost daily, although he was not observed taking communion or going to confession and sat or knelt in the pews at the back". The priest thought he was afraid of being recognized; Warhol said he was self-conscious about being seen in a Latin Rite church crossing himself "in the Orthodox way" (right to left instead of the reverse).
His art is noticeably influenced by the eastern Christian iconographic tradition which was so evident in his places of worship.
Warhol's brother has described the artist as "really religious, but he didn't want people to know about that because [it was] private". Despite the private nature of his faith, in Warhol's eulogy John Richardson depicted it as devout: "To my certain knowledge, he was responsible for at least one conversion. He took considerable pride in financing his nephew's studies for the priesthood".
Dedicated museums and collections
Two museums are dedicated to Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is located at 117 Sandusky Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, holding more than 12,000 works by the artist.
The other museum is the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, established in 1991 by Warhol's brother John Warhola, the Slovak Ministry of Culture, and the Warhol Foundation in New York. It is located in the small town of Medzilaborce, Slovakia. Warhol's parents and his two eldest brothers were born 15 kilometres away in the village of Miková. The museum houses several originals donated mainly by the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York and also personal items donated by Warhol's relatives.
Movies about Warhol
- Dramatic portrayals
In 1979, Warhol appeared as himself in the film Cocaine Cowboys.
After his death, Warhol was portrayed by Crispin Glover in Oliver Stone's film The Doors (1991), by David Bowie in Basquiat, a film by Julian Schnabel, and by Jared Harris in the film I Shot Andy Warhol directed by Mary Harron (1996). Warhol appears as a character in Michael Daugherty's 1997 opera Jackie O. Actor Mark Bringleson makes a brief cameo as Warhol in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery(1997). Many films by avant-garde cineast Jonas Mekas have caught the moments of Andy's life. Sean Gregory Sullivan depicted Warhol in the 1998 film 54. Guy Pearce portrayed Warhol in the 2007 film, Factory Girl, about Edie Sedgwick's life. Actor Greg Travis portrays Warhol in a brief scene from the 2009 film Watchmen. In the 2012 film Men in Black III Andy Warhol turns out to really be undercover MIB Agent W (played by Bill Hader). Warhol is throwing a party at The Factory in 1969, where he is looked up by MIB Agents K and J (J from the future). Agent W is desperate to end his undercover job ( "I'm starting to have ideas on painting soup cans and bananas, for Christ sakes!" and "You gotta fake my death, okay? I can't listen to sitar music anymore.")
Gus Van Sant was planning a version of Warhol's life with River Phoenix in the lead role just before Phoenix's death in 1993.
- The 2001 documentary, Absolut Warhola was produced by Polish director Stanislaw Mucha, featuring Warhol's parents' family and hometown in Slovakia.
- Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film is a reverential four-hour 2006 movie by Ric Burns.
- Andy Warhol: Double Denied is a 52 minute movie by lan Yentob about the difficulties in authenticating Warhol's work.
- Andy Warhol's People Factory, a three-part 2008 television documentary directed by Catherine Shorr, features interviews with several of Warhol's associates.