Andy Warhol, Mechanical Reproduction Field trip
Campbell’s Soup Can
Casein, acrylic, and graphite on linen, thirty-two panels
It’s repeating different soup can, and it repeated thirty-two times.
He used red, white, gold and a bit black.
The cans look more than similar, and the only difference is the name tag of the cans.
I am not sure about what I felt, but the thing I notice is this artwork is really easy to make. Because he can use the same silk print mold to make this number of artworks.
Reflecting on his career, Andy Warhol claimed that the Campbell’s Soup Can be his favorite work and that, “I should have just done the Campbell’s Soups and kept on doing them … because everybody only does one painting anyway.” Certainly, it is the signature image of the artist’s career and a key transitional work from his hand-painted to photo-transferred paintings. With his Campbell’s Soup Cans installation at Ferus Gallery, the artist realized the possibility of creating works in series, and the visual effect of serial imagery. He continued making variations on his Soup Cans, stenciling multiple cans within a single canvas and so amplifying the effect of products stacked in a grocery store, an idea that he would later develop in the box sculptures. He also realized that the serial repetition of an image drained it of its meaning, an interesting phenomenon most poignantly presented in his Disasters, in which the constant exposure to their graphic displays of violence numbs the senses. And, perhaps the most significant outcome of this series was the artist’s push towards printing to achieve the mechanical appearance that he sought in his paintings.