Warhol liked Campbells Soup,
January 21, 2002 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Warhol liked Campbells Soup, and after eons of pondering the meaning behind his art, we can now answer why he gave Campbell's soup so much attention.
posted by insomnyuk (15 comments total)
Now all we need to know is about those Brillo Pads, ;)

Tomato soup's been popping up a lot lately. Toby Young's article on his father's death - Michael Young, the British social philosopher and founder of the Open University - comes to mind.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:14 AM on January 22, 2002

Odd...I am 200 meters from the Campbells factory in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK today....
posted by mattr at 1:49 AM on January 22, 2002

Well, sure. And we all know he had a thing for Mao, too, right?

I suspect those cans were attractive to him for other reasons. Cultural icons, sustenance hidden in a metal cylinder, mass production, the familiar made unfamiliar, solid, heavy, tactile, smooth, stackable, primary colors, the ordinary seen again, etc. Sure, maybe his mother, too -- everyone had a mother -- but I hope there won't be any people who go away from this thread or that television show thinking they know something important about Warhol because they know his mother made a certain brand of soup for him.

But did he really like tomato soup? Or was it a reaction to his father hating tomato soup?

> Odd...I am 200 meters from the Campbells factory

That's not odd if you live or work where you are now. That's normal.

But say you woke up not knowing where you were, just some bit of grass somewhere, maybe with a couple new tattoos on your buttocks and an example of the amateur taxidermic arts tucked under your arm, and with no clothes but somewhow with your laptop. And you logged into Metafilter from a wireless connection, read this thread, and then looked up from your vantage point in the bushes to see Warhol's ghost pointing grimly to the Campbell's Soup factory. Well, that would be odd.
posted by pracowity at 2:33 AM on January 22, 2002

Aaah....but it is not my normal place of work....just somewhere I have been asked to attend a meeting for the first time in 14 months...

And on the day that this is mentioned on MeFi - I'd say that was a coincidence....and in my life, thats odd...

Oh and pracowity : just the one new tattoo today...qualify me for oddness?
posted by mattr at 4:25 AM on January 22, 2002

They say you learn something new every day. It's so refreshing to get that out of the way at 7:30 in the morning. Really takes the pressure off for the rest of the day...
posted by revbrian at 4:28 AM on January 22, 2002

It's not exactly news that he loved canned soup. And I suppose one can learn something here in regards to how it may have reminded him of his childhood. But I think Warhol was a little more complicated than this 'origin story'; look at the oeuvre and you'll see the same motifs used for other consumer items (Coke bottles), for pop culture icons (e.g. Marilyn Monroe; less famously, Liz Taylor, Jackie O, Mao, Che, Russell Means). What attracted him to these ideas was the commonality of the items, the way we failed to look at them even though they're everywhere.

The Campbell's Soup Can wasn't the only item he imbued with these qualities in his art, it simply became the most famous.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks the Warhol impersonator they've got playing the heavy on Mutant X is completely hilarious? I mean, conceptually. Dialog and acting are not, alas, hilarious. Though I do think the show has a healthy self-image.



posted by dhartung at 4:42 AM on January 22, 2002

Recalling a rare invitation to lunch at Warhol's apartment in the 1980s, Benjamin Liu added: "Andy said, 'I'll make some lunch for you guys.' I thought he was playing a joke on us: he opened a can of Campbell's soup and heated it up for us."

insomnyuk: I enjoyed this insider's glimpse of how the art world really lives!
posted by Carol Anne at 5:08 AM on January 22, 2002

Has Campbell's made a Warhol soup yet?
• The label: a lot of identical little Warhol heads in red and white.
• The flavor? Gotten Goat? Pulled Leg o' Mutton? Noodles in Oil?
• The recipe: warm for 15 minutes under spotlights.

> just the one new tattoo today...qualify me for oddness?

Maybe. Is it a can of soup?
posted by pracowity at 5:11 AM on January 22, 2002

People who popularize contemporary art are up their own arses as much as the people producing it.

posted by Frasermoo at 5:22 AM on January 22, 2002

Andy Warhol painted what he saw, and decorated it. As a child growing up poor in the fifties the most colorful place in the house was the kitchen. Pretty cans all lined up on the shelves, the bright colored canisters for the flour and sugar and lots of plants. Maybe once a month you got to go to the movies as a family, and almost always it was either MM, Liz or "The Duke". I always thought Warhol simply reflected the life I grew up in, all those silly critiques made me laugh then, as they do now.
posted by bjgeiger at 5:53 AM on January 22, 2002

While visiting the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh I had to straighten out a confused friend who thought that Warhol was responsible for the design of the Campbell's soup can.
posted by davidfg at 9:16 AM on January 22, 2002

Amen, bjgeiger, amen.
posted by y2karl at 9:36 AM on January 22, 2002

Was he genuinely perplexed by his success, and do you think this made him a bit crazy?
posted by Frasermoo at 10:21 AM on January 22, 2002

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