Friday, July 25, 2008

friday flashback: warhol's 15 min as mr. whipple

Andrew Warhola started out as an illustrator for shoe ads, one of which won him an Art Director's Club Medal in 1959. He crossed from commercial world into art by exhibiting his shoe drawings in a NYC gallery but never lost his fascination with advertising and commercial culture.

In 1964, he staged an exhibit called "The American Supermarket", a show held in Paul Bianchini's Upper East Side gallery. The show was presented as a typical small supermarket environment, except that everything in it—the produce, canned goods, meat, posters on the wall, etc.—was created by six prominent pop artists of the time, including the controversial (and like-minded) Billy Apple, Mary Inman, and Robert Watts. Warhol's painting of a can of Campbell's soup cost $1,500, while each autographed can sold for $6. (Imagine the regret of  shoppers who one day, too busy to go dinner-shopping, popped the top and threw away the can.)

Interesting to me that his philosophy still holds today:
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

poster source

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