why Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Can was so revolutionary in the art world.


why Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Can was so revolutionary in the art world.

In: 73

Basically was a continuation of the modernist directive to push the boundaries of art, by changing what could be considered art, further and further. Notable for applying this to something recognizable and commercial, rather than going the opposite way and making something super abstract.

I don‘t think it was that one piece by Warhol that‘s considered revolutionary but the whole movement of Pop Art of which it is a part and for which it became emblematic. Pop Art in general was very interested in the vernacular, the everyday objects, and what happens when you put these objects in an art context. Just by hanging them on a gallery wall you look at them differently, maybe even discover a beauty you didn‘t notice when they are in their usual environments of supermarkets, tabloids and comics. Although Duchamp explored similar themes earlier, it was quite shocking back then. Google Pop Arts predecessor Abstract Expressionism to get a glimpse of how unusual it was back then to make everyday objects the focus of your art.

I always felt it was a commentary on the mass production and commodification of art into something to be traded and consumed

There’s also the very nature of the work. It’s a subject that was previously considered not worthy of high art, it’s a mass produced commercial product. But Warhol’s art was ALSO mass produced. He found a way that he didn’t have to make a single painting he could sell once, he could screen print soup cans endlessly, experimenting with colour combinations and just by the nature of them being screen printed, each one is individually unique because there is human error in the screen printing process.

So he made it possible for literally thousands of people to own an original Andy Warhol without it having to be prohibitively expensive because it’s not a traditional “painting” which by its nature is on of a kind. The very idea of art being something that can be mass produced and sold like the consumer product that is being depicted (campbells soup, coca-cola, Hollywood celebrities which become brands themselves, etc)

Previous commenters make statements on the time of production. I think you can’t see in what way it is art without making an intensive study of the 1960s and the art movements that preceded the soup cans. And that means that even though it’s called “pop art,” it is unusually abstruse and obscure art.