Born in 1924 in Washington, D.C. Artchwager spent his childhood in New Mexico. He attended Cornell University in Ithica, NY from 1941-1948 during which, his studies were briefly interrupted by a call to service in Europe. He moved to New York where he studied at the Amédée Ozenfant Studio School.
Artschwager's first exhibition was at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York followed in 1966-1967 by number of group exhibitions. In 1973, he had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and one year later, was shown in the American Pop Art exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York. During 1988-1989 he was given a comprehensive retrospective of his works at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; And the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Artschwager died in February of 2013, shortly after the Whitney Museum of Art's major retrospective of his work ended.