As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Art à la Warhol (4) – Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

I recently had the privilege of experiencing the  world-debut  of “Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Eternal” at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, here in Singapore.

This week I bring you Art à la Warhol. We’ll look into key works that give us a window to a particular point in his life and the experiences that brought about that expression. Then, we’ll do art projects to mimic the Warhol style.
Today I bring you “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary”. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol began to make paintings of famous American products such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola. He switched to silkscreen prints, seeking not only to make art of mass-produced items but to mass produce the art itself. He hired and supervised “art workers” engaged in making prints, films, books and other items at The Factory, his studio. A lot of Warhol’s works revolve around the concept of American culture. He painted money, food, women’s shoes, celebrities, newspaper clippings and everyday objects. To Warhol, these subjects represented American cultural values. For instance, Coca-Cola represented democratic equality.(Info Source)
Close up shot of one of the 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans

Campbell’s Soup Cans, which is sometimes referred to as 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, is a work of art produced in 1962 by Andy Warhol. It consists of thirty-two canvases, each measuring 20 inches (51 cm) in height × 16 inches (41 cm) in width and each consisting of a painting of a Campbell’s Soup can—one of each of the canned soup varieties the company offered at the time.[1] The individual paintings were produced by a printmaking method—the semi-mechanized screen printing process, using a non-painterly style. Campbell’s Soup Cans’ reliance on themes from popular culture helped to usher in pop art as a major art movement in the USA. from Wikipedia

Why did Warhol paint Campbell’s Soups cans? Several anecdotal stories supposedly explain why Warhol chose Campbell’s Soup cans as the focal point of his pop art. 

Story A: According to Ted Carey—one of Warhol’s commercial art assistants in the late 1950s—it was Muriel Latow who suggested the idea for both the soup cans and Warhol’s early U.S. dollar paintings. Muriel Latow was then an aspiring interior decorator, and owner of the Latow Art Gallery in the East 60s in Manhattan. She told Warhol that he should paint “Something you see every day and something that everybody would recognize. Something like a can of Campbell’s Soup.” Ted Carey, who was there at the time, said that Warhol responded by exclaiming: “Oh that sounds fabulous.” According to Carey, Warhol went to a supermarket the following day and bought a case of “all the soups”, which Carey said he saw when he stopped by Warhol’s apartment the next day. 

Story B:When the art critic G.R. Swenson asked Warhol in 1963 why he painted soup cans, the artist replied, “I used to drink it, I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years.”
Another account of Latow’s influence on Warhol holds that she asked him what he loved most, and because he replied “money” she suggested that he paint U.S. dollar bills. According to this story, Latow later advised that in addition to painting money he should paint something else very simple, such as Campbell’s Soup cans.

Story C:In an interview for London’s The Face in 1985, David Yarritu asked Warhol about flowers that Warhol’s mother made from tin cans. In his response, Warhol mentioned them as one of the reasons behind his first tin can paintings:
David Yarritu: I heard that your mother used to make these little tin flowers and sell them to help support you in the early days.
Andy Warhol: Oh God, yes, it’s true, the tin flowers were made out of those fruit cans, that’s the reason why I did my first tin-can paintings … You take a tin-can, the bigger the tin-can the better, like the family size ones that peach halves come in, and I think you cut them with scissors. It’s very easy and you just make flowers out of them. My mother always had lots of cans around, including the soup cans.

Story D: Several stories mention that Warhol’s choice of soup cans reflected his own avid devotion to Campbell’s soup as a consumer. Robert Indiana once said: “I knew Andy very well. The reason he painted soup cans is that he liked soup.” He was thought to have focused on them because they composed a daily dietary staple.

Others observed that Warhol merely painted things he held close at heart. He enjoyed eating Campbell’s soup, had a taste for Coca-Cola, loved money, and admired movie stars. Thus, they all became subjects of his work. Yet another account says that his daily lunches in his studio consisted of Campbell’s Soup and Coca-Cola, and thus, his inspiration came from seeing the empty cans and bottles accumulate on his desk.

Limited-Edition Cans Commemorate 50th Anniversary 
of Warhol’s Famed Campbell’s® Soup Paintings
 Exclusively available at most Target locations,USA
($.75 /10.75-ounce can)started Sept. 2nd


“In 1962, Andy Warhol changed the trajectory of contemporary art by depicting Campbell soup cans on canvas,” said Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation. “It is only fitting that fifty years later we celebrate the enduring legacy of these two American icons by coming full circle and bringing his art back to the Campbell soup cans that provided him with inspiration.”Info Source

Campbell Soup Company and Andy Warhol

While Campbell did not commission Warhol to paint the original soup cans, the company is proud to be associated with his work and currently displays an original Warhol painting at its headquarters in Camden, N.J. When the Campbell brand was featured in Warhol’s artwork starting in 1962, then President and CEO, William Beverly Murphy, indicated that he had some initial concern. The company took a “wait and see” approach and quickly became a supporter of Warhol’s work – sending him cases of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato soup, commissioning two paintings and establishing the Andy Warhol Scholarship Fund with the New York Art Academy.Info Source

Most recently, Campbell partnered with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a sponsor of the education and concerts and lectures programs associated with the exhibition Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years which opens on Tuesday, Sept. 18.Read more on The MET MUSEUM website

If you’re an art teacher check out this resource: “Transforming Everyday Objects” MOMA Guide to Modern Art and Ideas

COCA COLA –another Ordinary Object Made EXTRAORDINARY by Andy Warhol

“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” –Andy Warhol

Let’s make something ordinary EXTRAORDINARY- 
à la Warhol
Today I share with you a little photography project inspired by  Warhol’s pursuit of turning ordinary everyday objects into works of art. This photo is just used to demonstrate the point – this is a series of photos of reusable bags I collected from the internet and it is interesting to see them all in one image.(Ideally you would use many of the same object.)
“Reusable Canvas Bags”
collage by Paulina Constancia

Steps you can follow:
  1. Choose an ordinary everyday object.
  2. Be on the lookout and take a photo of this object wherever and whenever you find it. As you see, with my example, the objects have something in common – they are all reusable canvas bags.
  3. Arrange them as a row of images. I did mine using iPhoto. Here are my steps: create album with all the photos, select share-email, choose above lay-out, arrange photos according to your liking. Take a screen shot and crop.
“I like boring things. 
I like things to be the same 
over and over again.”

-Andy Warhol-

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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