Question:

Can someone explain the hype that surrounded Andy Warhols paintings of cans of Cambells Soup

by Guest57346  |  earlier

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I'm not an art Aficionado so I don't really know much about Mr. Warhol, I am interested in learning. I was just wondering why was there so much hype surrounding paintings of cans of soup, in different colors. I mean the soup can design had already been there and no one found it any interesting. I am just asking to learn, people on Yahoo Answers seem to think you need to know everything. No mean responses!

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  1. Guest58848

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  2. Pop art had been building up for years, but in the late 50s/early 60s, there was this bubbling up of young artists who all had a similar style, all getting their first shows and getting rave reviews.  In the 50s, Jasper Johns was making paintings that were copies of the american flag.  In the early 60s, Roy Lichtenstein was making paintings that were copies of cartoon strips.  Robert Rauschenberg was creating sculptures using discarded elements of advertising/ pop culture in the 50s/ early 60s.  Wayne Thiebaud was painting objects from American culture: pastries, gumball machines, icecream cones, etc.

    Warhol was a very successful illustrator for magazines for years before he attempted to make "art" for galleries.  He was very influenced by this pop art scene partly because he had worked in advertising, so he understood pop culture and what visuals appealed to the american public.  

    Warhol's first paintings were knockoffs of Lichtenstein cartoon strip paintings, and as he kept working and trying to define his vision as an artist he realized he was mostly interested in the mass-production aspect of pop culture.  He was very interested in how corporations create products that people consume, not only for the product itself, but also for the iconic mystique of the object.  He was fascinated by how you could purchase and drink a coke and it would be the same exact quality as the coke that Marilyn Monroe, or any other superstar, would be able to buy.

    The Campell's soup show was in 1962 and really made a name for him, even though it was very controversial and maybe not that successful of a show, financially speaking.  But it sparked national debate because people, critics, art fans, etc were sometimes deeply offended/ threatened, while others were enthralled.  Just to be specific, it was a series of oil paintings, one for each of the different flavors (32 in all).

    The different flavors of the soups that are available to purchase describes our culture, as does the classic design of the packaging.  Showing images of products from daily life may seem tedious or uninteresting, but that seemingly mundane action flew in the face of abstract expressionism (Kandinsky, Pollock, DeKooning) which was waning in popularity, or at least leaving the main stage.  Warhol was also playing with the notion of an artist as an assembly line producer of work, as opposed to looking at the artist for his virtuosity and craftsmanship.  

  3. It's "kitch" art which means "kitchen" art - ordinary, dumb things off of the shelf of commercial art label design.  I hated Warhol too until someone explained that he was so dismayed with what poeple considered "art" that he pushed the definition to the max by offering the more and more ordinary asking, "okay, is THIS art...is THIS art, is THIS art?"  He was probably a nut, but there is genius in nuttiness too.  I have heard that he made a "home movie" a video of someone pooping in a glass pie pan - the camera was below the pie pan recording the process.  He showed the movie and asked the viewers, "is THIS art?"  Like I say, he was a nut, but he really was concerned with what really IS "art"....what is self expression and what is self indulgence...what is a statement of a vision and what is LITERALLY just a load of c**p...

  4. they demonstrate mass production-i dont think many people realize that, i didnt i just see them as different and interesting.  

  5. The second answer is a really good one, and I doubt I can do better.  Asking this question is a great start to educating yourself about art and art movements you may not understand, appreciate, or even care for.  I suggest you do a little on-line study of Warhol -- or any other artists whose talent or ability you might find questionable  That way you  will acquire the vocabulary and background necessary to become a knowledgeable art student and critic.

    It is really OK to not like a particular artist. . . but just saying " I don't like it" will not get you any points on a quiz in art history!  Learn to justify or define your answers and you will gain credence even when among those who disagree with you!

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