Pop art can be a bit off-putting due to it’s focus on minor object or bright colors. Warhol’s 32 silk screen prints of Campbell’s Soup Cans can seem like a complete waste of time, until you take a bit of time to investigate his purpose and process.
Much of pop art, at its inception, was created as commentary of society at the time. There are many interpretations or assumptions of what Warhol meant by these paintings. Some believe that he meant to support commercialization and the mechanizing of the world. After seeing his variations (soup boxes, torn labels, different colors) I think he meant to express his fascination with mass production. I think he saw that good thinks could come from it — like being able to produce more, but does mass production take away from the uniqueness of things or allow us to create more variety easier? There is a variation that includes a can opener — is this to comment on how, even though canned food is “easier” to store, it leads to more necessities (like a can opener)? As for process, these silk screens look like they might be easier to create than typical paintings, but it takes just as much work, effort, patience and talent. We can look at one art or another (one can of soup or another) but what it “seems” like might not be the reality of what it takes — what’s on the inside.
Regardless of what Warhol meant, I’m super honored to have been able to stand in front of these paintings. They are such a statement in pop culture. What do you think the soup cans mean? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!