I shopped Andy Warhol

As if the impending global thermonuclear wasn’t reason enough to stock up on soup …

“The Andy Warhol Foundation is staging a marketing blitz for its founder this year, opening the archives to the likes of everyone from Hysteric Glamour, to Levis, to Barney’s. The most interesting—not to mention obvious—of these collaborations is their tie-in with the Campbell’s Soup company to produce a—yes, we’re going to say it—limited-edition line of cans in Warhol’s distinct color treatments. Don’t even front like you don’t want em. Keep your eyes peeled at the Piggly Wiggly, true believers…” (via Supertouch)

4 thoughts on “I shopped Andy Warhol

  1. I often wonder how Andy Warhol would react to how he’s seen these days, some 20+ years after his unfortunate death. For a guy who sorta defined irony for the modern era, through his unusually blunt comments (“I am deeply superficial”, “I like boring things.”), and who felt, perhaps honestly, that painting was just an excuse to listen to really good music, it’ll be weird seeing actual Warhol soup cans out in the world.
    Here’s the thing I’ve always liked about him: he felt increasingly compromised doing illustrations for ads, so he looked for ways to become an artist. Like it is for a lot of folks who work in the world of commerce, he had difficulty initiating his own projects and consequently consulted with his friends about what to do. They advised him to paint things he liked…and so he started painting money. He had Campbell’s Soup for lunch almost daily, and then went on to doing that. And so on and so forth.
    So Warhol’s work really was based in authenticity, in genuine emotional connection to something. He once said that people in the 1960s forgot what emotions were, and that they never remembered. I think its weird how, basically, he was totally real but simultaneously ended up in this milieu where people started putting more value on someone else’s perception of them than anything else. Without Warhol, you don’t have the hipster culture that spends $120 on a Space Invaders necklace from Hancholo.com or buys old Voltron toys on eBay. The difference is, Warhol did what he liked because he liked it, whereas the stereotypical hipster does it because someone else might think it’s cool.
    I guess there’s no need to over-intellectualize the guy or his work, as tempting as indulging that might be…so I say, rock on, Andy Warhol foundation. I know that in his mind the greatest art was having land and not ruining it–metaphorically speaking of course, I hope they keep that in mind when opening the vault.

  2. You’re a walking Warhol Wikipedia, Brad.
    I’d previously scribed several versions of my opinion of the Warhol / Campbell’s tag team, deciding to spare y’all the masturbation to which I now (partially) subject you. The trouble is I couldn’t and can’t decide how I feel about the whole affair until I see its execution. I share your sentiments about Warhol, and hey, tomato soup’s never done anything bad to me … I just wonder if Campbell’s has considered any of what you’re talking about.
    I guess we’ll find out if they print any variation of the word “collect” on the new label.

  3. Haha, thanks. Warhol used to annoy me because I always thought there was something naggingly false about him, until I actually started investigating who he actually was. And there’s no doubt, some of his negative perceptions are well-deserved: he DID have a studio called The Factory and he staffed it with starstruck youngsters who’d work for nothing to be a part of it, which in turn created the scenesterism that turned a lot of people off.
    I doubt that any corporate entity would “get” what this is all about. The tragedy, of course, is that Warhol was the first to say that his work was entirely superficial, that there was nothing behind any of it. I can appreciate that–last year I started compiling all the Motley Crue lyrics I could find and laid them out in Biblical format and called the collection “The Gospel of Crue.” (yes, there’s an umlaat over the o in Gospel). Thing is, I actually started listening to their music and totally fell for it…turns out, there are books by fans of the band who talk in a heartfelt fashion about what that music meant to them. Nikki Sixx a spiritual experience? Who knew? I treated the band like a joke but ultimately discovered something authentic and relentlessly passionate in them. The point is, you can put all the nothing you want behind something you make, but once it gets an audience that so-called emptiness can be filled up by legions of others.
    With this endeavor, the irony is that Warhol created his soup can paintings by hand–they were not part of the mechanical reproduction that he’s known for. Obviously, THESE cans will be mechanically reproduced, which is inevitable but still. Then again, Warhol also pointed out that the beauty of living in America was things like Coke, and how your Coke was the same as a Kennedy’s Coke…and so on. So with this, its kind of opening up “art,” which is typically seen as inaccessible, to the masses.
    I guess we’ll see. Hopefully it doesn’t come off as yet another commodified perversion of something that was once pretty compelling.

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