Andy Warhol is definitely an icon of popular culture – after all, he and his artist contemporaries spawned the era of pop art in the 1960’s. He redefined the nature of art, specifically painting, and became an icon who would be celebrated and revisted generations later. Today, at contemporary art auctions, Warhol’s works still fetch hefty price tags and are sought out by collectors worldwide.
Pop art was revolutionary in that it brought the contemporary reality of the 1960’s to the forefront and made it the subject of art. It was, in a way, a representation of what real life was like, and not an idealized picture conjured from imagination.
Warhol’s art was profoundly influenced by his experience of reality. He didn’t want to escape it, and instead put it on the canvas, repeating the images as if to mimic the notions of what it meant to live life the way he experienced it.
The paintings, which are part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, are usually displayed stacked covering an entire wall. The first time they were exhibited at Ferus Gallery however, Warhol lined them in single file, as if they were sitting on the supermarket shelves.
Today the cans are an almost ubiquitous symbol of popular counterculture and can be seen on any imaginable type of merchandise.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the soup paintings, Target released limited-edition cans featuring labels designed to mimic Warhol’s iconic screenprinting technique. This wasn’t the first time they’d done it – another run of cans was previously produced in 2006.
Needless to say, Warhol’s fame has exceeded his predicted 15-minute run, and from the looks of it, it will be safe to assume that it will continue to stretch on for a while more.