Small Torn Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper Pot)
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Andy Warhol, Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962
[AUDIO: “Sit right down, and get your Campbell’s worth!” ]
Andy Warhol claimed he ate a can of soup every day. For 20 years.
He certainly appreciated uniformity. When Warhol first exhibited his famous Soup Can paintings, the gallery displayed them in tidy rows on shelves. The grocery store next door put up a sign advertising that they sold REAL soup cans, and for only 29 cents!
I saw the Warhol show at the Ferus Gallery in 1962, and I remember thinking the soup cans would look cute in my kitchen. But I thought Eli would have me committed if I spent $100 on a picture of a soup can. Now he really wishes I had bought one.
Warhol made many paintings of cans with their labels intact. These were not precious masterpieces but instead easily reproducible efforts, a mirror of the machine of American consumer culture.
[SOUNDFX: “MM yummy,” Machine sounds, ending in tearing paper sounds.]
But the act of tearing something is unique by its very nature, and Warhol made only six of these torn label paintings.
Irving Blum, director of the Ferus Gallery.
IRVING BLUM ARCHIVAL
That’s a lot of painting, you know. They’ve always seemed to me to be kind of bridge paintings, between first generation, abstract expressionism and the and the pop style. I think of them that way.
It shows off Warhol’s painterly handiwork, an ironic gesture in the age of mechanical reproduction by an artist who called his studio “The Factory.”