Andy Warhol is easily one of the most important and profoundly influential artists of the twentieth century, and of all his contributions to the development of postmodern and contemporary aesthetics, perhaps none is as significant as what was known as “the Factory.” At once a physical studio space, a kind of assembly line for art production, and a dynamic locus for social and cultural interactions between Warhol and a host of friends, lovers, fellow artists, casual acquaintances, and curious onlookers, the Factory was an integral part of the artist’s daily life and cultural practice from its emergence in 1962 until his death in 1987. Over time, the Factory has blossomed into myth, becoming a cultural shorthand for everything from dynamic experimentation and the vitality of the 60s counterculture in America to the decadence and destructiveness of drug culture and the aesthetic and moral impoverishment of art at the end of modernism. But the Factory was, at its core, a community in the most vital sense. Within it, multiple authors interacted and collaborated on the production of paintings, sculpture, experimental films, books and magazines, performances, and bohemian lifestyles writ large that are, even today, both culturally innovative and inseparable from the dynamic and heterogeneous milieu in which they were formed.
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