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University of Edinburgh


University of Edinburgh via Coursera

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This course will introduce you to the life and work of Andy Warhol, one of the world’s most famous artists. It will:

  • Explore why Warhol has international standing both within and beyond the art establishment;
  • Examine how artistic worth and value is constructed and attributed;
  • Interrogate some of Warhol’s main thematic concerns and major creative innovations;
  • Position Warhol in relation to major artistic movements of the 20th century (Dada, minimalism, Pop Art, structuralism, etc).
This course has been developed as part of the ARTIST ROOMS research partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Tate, and the National Galleries of Scotland. It is delivered by staff and teaching assistants based in History of Art and the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art.


Week 1: Celebrity

Subjects to be explored will include:

  • Warhol’s early investment in stars and celebrities;
  • Warhol’s screenprints of stars, based on appropriated mass media images: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Jackie Kennedy, etc.;
  • Warhol’s creation of his own group of ‘superstars’, especially through his filmmaking activities;
  • Warhol’s move from the subcultural scene in the 1960s to mainstream celebrity circles in the 1980s.

Week 2: Sex

Subjects to be explored will include:

  • The common misconception of Warhol as an asexual machine;
  • The regular appearance of homoerotic imagery throughout Warhol’s work: line drawings of boys; ‘tease’ content of films such as My Hustler and Blow Job;
  • Coded sexual content in seemingly banal material (e.g., the World’s Fair mural Thirteen Most Wanted Men);
  • Warhol and censorship.


Week 3: Money

 Subjects to be explored will include:

  • The value of Warhol’s art in the market;
  • Warhol’s drawings and paintings of money, including dollar bills and the dollar sign;
  • Warhol’s successful career as a commercial artist;
  • Warhol’s own arguments about 'business art'.


Week 4: Death

Subjects to be explored will include:

  • The Death and Disaster series of screenprints;
  • Valerie Solanas’ attempted assassination of Warhol in 1968, and the impact this had on his work;
  • Echoes of mortality in Warhol’s later works, including screenprints of guns and skulls, self-portraits with skulls, etc;
  • Arguments by Thomas Crow (‘Saturday Disasters’) and Stephen Koch (Stargazer) about the centrality of death in Warhol’s work.


Week 5: Time

Subjects to be explored will include:

  • The lasting status of Warhol’s most iconic works;
  • Stillness and slowness in some of Warhol’s films and photographs, such as Empire and the Screen Tests series;
  • Warhol’s Time Capsules;
  • Repetition and boredom as central tropes in Warhol’s work.

Taught by

Glyn Davis, Sian Bayne and Jen Ross


3.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Warhol

  • Jade

    Jade completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Absolutely awesome and will give you a new appreciation of Andy Warhol and Pop Art. The forums are so informative and the assignments will give you insight into his work as well as other people's perspectives. I would recommend this course to all creatives and suggest you keep an eye out for other artists Glyn Davis or the University of Edinburgh may be doing.
  • Ron Fortuna

    Ron Fortuna completed this course.

    This is a brilliant course - excellent forums that were interesting and engaging, great assignments with superb peer review, and terrific course content as well. The best MOOC I've taken thus far - highly recommended!!!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Every week, you get a 5-minute video from the instructor and a few 10-minute clips showing people talking about Warhol.

    Better grab a book.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

  • Aana

    Aana completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

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