Who Shot (And Technically Killed) Andy Warhol -- And Why? Story Of An Art Assassin

By | June 2, 2020

test article image
Left: Actress Valerie Solanas (center), 28, is booked on June 3, 1968, in connection with the shooting a few hours earlier of pop artist Andy Warhol. Right: Warhol's 'Gun' (1981). Sources: Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images; wikiart.org

In 1968, Pop artist Andy Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, a peripheral figure in the New York art world. Two bullets from Solanas' .32 Beretta ripped through Warhol's stomach, liver, spleen, and lungs. Doctors barely saved his life -- in fact, he died, briefly, but was revived -- and the experience had a lasting effect on his art. Who was Valerie Solanas, the person who took it upon herself to kill the world's most famous artist?

The Forces That Created Her

test article image
Valerie Solanas. Source: (Dazeddigital.com)

Valerie Solanas was born in in 1936 New Jersey and had claimed that her father sexually abused her. After her parents divorced, she did not get along with her stepfather and began rebelling. In 1949, her mother sent her to live with her grandparents. According to Solanas, her grandfather was a violent alcoholic who beat her. At 15, she left her grandparents and became homeless. By 1953, she gave birth to a son, whose father was a married sailor. She did, however, graduate from high school and attend the University of Maryland, where she majored in Psychology. While there, she hosted a radio show where she gave advice on combatting men. After graduating, she attended the University of Minnesota, pursuing a graduate degree in psychology. After she dropped out, she attended Berkeley for a few classes and began working on the SCUM Manifesto.