CAMTO Speaker Series Present Andy Warhol: Life and Legends with Michael Zakian


California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks Speaker Series Presents “Andy Warhol: Life and Legends” with guest speaker Michael Zakian, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 7:00 p.m. at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts Community Room. 

Andy Warhol was unquestionably one of the artistic giants of the twentieth century and the leading figure of the Pop Art Movement of the 1960s.  His work revolutionized contemporary culture by exploring connections between advertising, celebrity and fine art. 

 “Although Warhol died almost thirty years ago, his art and vision still has a powerful impact on our world,” says Dr. Zakian.  “He was able to foresee today’s interest in celebrity culture and social media.  His art dissolved the boundaries between art and advertising and its impact can be seen today in any shopping mall, where displays often resemble Warhol’s work.”

This CMATO Speaker Series program coincides with the exhibition, Andy Warhol: Life and Legends, at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu that runs through April 3, 2016.  This exhibition of 82 works covers Warhol’s entire career, from his iconic Pop Art images of the 1960s—Marilyn Monroe, Flowers, and Campbell Soup Cans—to lessor known later works such as his Myths and Endangered Species series. This is the first partnership between CMATO and Pepperdine University.

The featured presenter is Dr. Michael Zakian, an art historian and curator who has been the director of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at Pepperdine University since 1995.  He also served as an associate curator at the Palm Springs Art Museum from 1989 to 1995.  A native of New York, Dr. Zakian has a deep interest in modern art and earned his Ph.D. from Rutgers University with a dissertation on representational elements in the art of Willem de Kooning.


Andy Warhol was born in 1928 to parents who worked in the steel mills.  As a child he contracted rheumatic fever, which developed into a debilitating nervous disorder.  He found solace in drawing and in reading Hollywood celebrity magazines.  Warhol’s talent earned him a place and a degree in art and design at Carnegie Mellon University.  Following his graduation, he moved to New York determined to be a commercial artist. Within ten years, he was the highest paid illustrator in the New York City.

In the 1960s, Warhol wanted to become a fine artist. After a body of works based on comics, he began to focus on common objects.  His mature Pop Art style fully emerged in 1962 when he painted his Campbell Soup Cans; they were exhibited for the first time in a Los Angeles art gallery.  In 1962 he also discovered silkscreens, which allowed him to base his art on photographs from popular culture. 

Within a few years, Warhol was celebrated by the media and public as a leader of the new Pop Art movement.  His studio, nicknamed the Factory, became a center of activity for the downtown NYC art scene and was visited by celebrities and socialites. 

In 1968, there was an assassination attempt on Warhol by an actress who thought that Warhol was stealing her ideas.  Although he survived the attempted assignation, the physical and psychological wounds left permanent scars.  He abandoned his former lifestyle and began to focus more on the business side of art.  In 1987 Warhol died from complications from gall bladder surgery at the age of 58.


Admission to the Speaker’s Program is $10 for CMATO members and $20 non-members. The Speaker’s Series takes place at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, 403 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.

The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks is a non-profit organization devoted to educating the community about the visual arts and dedicated to establishing a premier art museum that will serve the Conejo Valley and surrounding communities.  For more information on the Speaker Series, please contact CMATO Director of Operations Bill Mercer at

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