Andy Warhol, a name that echoes through the corridors of modern art history, was as much a visual enigma as his iconic works. His silver wigs became as much a part of his identity as his Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe portraits. But Why Does Andy Warhol Always Wear A Wig? Let’s now expose the secret!
Who Is Andy Warhol?
Andy Warhol, whose full name was Andrew Warhola, was born on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became one of the most influential figures in the visual art movement known as Pop Art. Warhol’s work explored the relationship between artistic expression, culture, and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s.
Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator, but he soon became a renowned artist. His New York studio, The Factory, became a well-known gathering place for intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons. Warhol produced a variety of artworks, including paintings, silkscreen prints, photography, sculpture, film, and music. He also managed and produced the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founded Interview magazine.
Andy Warhol was known for his distinctive look, part of which included his silver-grey hair, which was a wig. Warhol started to lose his hair in his early twenties, which is when he first adopted the use of wigs. The wigs became a significant part of his image and were an artistic statement in themselves, contributing to his enigmatic persona. At the time of his death in 1987, Andy Warhol’s net worth was estimated to be around $220 million. However, his estate has continued to increase in value posthumously. Today, original Warhol pieces can fetch tens of millions of dollars at auction, making his estate worth much more now.
Andy Warhol’s ‘Fright Wigs’ Go On Display In UK For First Time
Tate Modern is unveiling a rare glimpse into the personal and artistic nuances of Andy Warhol with the first major Andy Warhol retrospective in twenty years. Among the more than 100 objects in the collection, visitors will have an unprecedented opportunity to view Warhol’s famous “fright wigs”-three elaborately styled wigs that the artist reportedly glued to his scalp for fear of them falling off his head.
Dark in the back and transitioning to blonde in the front, these wigs were not only fashion accessories but also integral to Warhol’s image-making, blurring the line between the artist and his art. Gregor Moore, co-curator of the exhibition, emphasized the importance of these artworks, noting that Warhol’s dedication to wig design revealed an intimate aspect of his identity, underscoring the notion that Warhol himself was as much a work of art as the works he created.
Why Does Andy Warhol Always Wear A Wig?
1. Hair Loss Brought On By Illness
The iconic imagery associated with celebrities often becomes their signature, similar to Marilyn Monroe’s blonde hair and red lips or Elvis Presley’s dark, slick hairstyle. Andy Warhol, a prominent figure in the Pop Art movement, also cultivated such an image with his blonde and white wigs.
Stephen Smith of The Guardian pointed out that Warhol’s choice to wear a wig stemmed from a need to maintain a “sense of self” after suffering from a neurological disease during his youth that left him hairless. The wig became an integral part of his identity, much like the distinctive looks of other high-profile figures.
2. To Use The Wig To His Advantage
Warhol ingeniously turned a potential setback into a defining feature of his persona. In 1971, by adopting an “alternative” wig and an eccentric style, he crafted an iconic look that played to his advantage. He candidly acknowledged his superficiality, understanding that a wig was a noticeable accessory but altering its color could become a statement. As his fame increased, his wigs became synonymous with his style, even leading to comparisons with a “real-life cartoon character.”
3. Catholicism And The Emotional Factor
Warhol’s use of wigs was not simply an aesthetic choice or a means to cover up baldness; it was also a reflection of his complex emotional state. As a gay Catholic man, Warhol faced profound insecurities, as noted by Bradford Collins in Art in America, who described Warhol as viewing himself as “deeply flawed.” His wigs were a tool in navigating the tension between his desire for attractiveness, his sexual identity, and the pressures for commercial success in a society that had yet to fully accept homosexuality.
Warhol’s exploration of beauty and identity was deeply personal, and his wigs were symbolic of the duality he lived—both the person he wanted to present to the world and the one he felt compelled to conceal. They served as his armor, allowing him to be visible yet protected, much like Daphne Guinness described clothing as a form of protection that simultaneously draws attention.
When Andy Warhol Starts To Wear A Wig?
Andy Warhol started wearing a wig in his early twenties. Initially, it was done to hide his hair loss. But as time passed, his distinctive silver wig added to his avant-garde mystique, and the wig—which started as a tool for concealment—became a distinguishing characteristic of the artist’s public persona. Warhol left his mark on the world with his trademark wig. It was a feature of his signature aesthetic and artistic presentation.
Who Made The Andy Warhol Wigs?
Andy Warhol’s distinctive wigs, which became an integral part of his style, were meticulously crafted by Paul Bochicchio, a renowned wig maker based in New York. Bochicchio created custom wigs for Warhol by skillfully stitching together imported Italian hair. Over the years, Warhol’s wig collection transformed, transitioning from blonde to a striking silver-white shade. It is believed that he possessed a vast assortment of these silver wigs, with dozens of variations to choose from.
The Photo Andy Warhol Without A Wig
In a rare moment captured in 1949, shortly after completing his art education, Andy Warhol can be seen without his signature wig while enjoying a leisurely time at Fire Island Beach in California. Accompanied by his college friend, Corinne Kessler, this candid photograph provides a glimpse into a more vulnerable and unguarded side of the renowned artist.
Where Can Buy Andy Warhol Same Wig?
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What Colour was Andy Warhol’s hair?
Andy Warhol’s natural hair color was dark brown.
What was Andy Warhol’s style called?
Andy Warhol’s style is often referred to as Pop Art.
What happened between Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick?
Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick had a close but tumultuous relationship, with Sedgwick becoming a prominent figure in Warhol’s artistic and social circle, particularly in his film projects.
What happened to Andy Warhol’s hair?
Andy Warhol experienced hair loss due to a neurological disease during his youth, prompting him to wear wigs, which later became an iconic part of his image.
Andy Warhol’s consistent use of a wig was more than a superficial layer of his persona; it was a shield, a brand, and a statement all at once. Through his synthetic silver locks, Warhol communicated the mutable concept of identity, challenged social norms, and solidified his place as an enduring figure in the art world.