What Andy Warhol's 'Campbell's Soup Cans' Teaches Us About Consumerism

What Andy Warhol's 'Campbell's Soup Cans' Teaches Us About Consumerism

How 32 cans became immortal.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was the epitome of an artist; he could transform anything and dabbled in a variety of techniques. A pivotal figure to the Pop Art movement, his work of art "Campbell’s Soup Cans" produced in 1962, extends beyond his resume to contemporary approaches of defining art and an attack on the vapid consumerist culture ravaging America.

Pop Art has laid its claim and become renowned for borrowing from other styles, artists, and countries. Embedded was a message that originality is dead and what we do now is but a mere replica of a distant form. Rather than reject this, people should come to terms with the reality of things, fashion, and art itself.

The 1960s movement proclaims that art can still be made, but to be self-aware and look to abandoned preconceived ideas of what constitutes an unconventional form for a canvas. It's a departure from longstanding traditions of what to represent or what can be a still-life model.

Warhol famously declared, “Everyone is an artist.” He stood true to his claims and rallied for others to create art from popular culture. Like-minded individuals adhered and followed suit. Cropping, manipulating color, distorting its transparency and other changes to a base advertisement took exhibits by storm. Warhol reproduced and contritely replicated an ordinary object recognizable to shoppers.

"Campbell’s Soup Cans" would find its debut on July 9, 1962, in the Los Angeles Gallery entitled Ferus. Each can has its own 20" x 16" canvas placed in close proximity to the other. First displayed on the wall like a painting, they hung just above shelves as a tribute to its real-life existence in a grocery store.

The number 32 is symbolic, stemming from the namesake company – Campbell’s Soup – who sold 32 soup flavors. Warhol refused the idea of selling each piece off, a surprising choice in a market where profit could be found in 32 sales. This would then be considered Warhol's official entrance into the Pop Art movement.

Instructions did not go further. Warhol did not indicate the artwork's procession. Often in art, rigid formulaic instructions are left behind to have everything in prestige place. It was Warhol's way of saying that art needed to change its approaches to things are done. Instead, the curators took the initiative and arranged them in row order of the date of each can's release. Its tomato can from 1987 would have the honor of kicking it off.

"Campbell’s Soup Cans" is a precursor to Warhol's later acclaimed style. Here, they have the look of being mass-produced from a hardworking printing machine up to its brim. But in fact, each image is hand-painted with a synthetic polymer. Warhol wanted to convey the look of them being fake to keep his vision churning.

The cans did have subtle variations, with its front product labels stating its flavor to spice things up. Nevertheless, they are identical to each other with a quick panning glance turning them into the exact same being. Upon release, criticism and parodies were spawned by the general public. Warhol's piece was dubbed a flop.

Outrage has formed, something not unknown to avant-garde artists. Calling for a decline in art academics and the critic circle alike, "Campbell’s Soup Cans" was seen as an intrusive force to the established longstanding world of art. There were standards expected to be held of what a painting was and meant. Warhol quintessentially bridges the idea that making art is equivalent to picking out a can of soup and deciding to eat it.

Another point of interest to the reactions is that this piece has no demographics, instead, it is made for everyone. This runs in contrast to other traditions, where audiences were narrowed down to recognize certain iconography or historical context. Here, anybody can read Warhol's paintings.

That is not to say Warhol's effort was as mindless as conscious consumption. In many ways, he is reflected in the cans. Warhol once said, “I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for 20 years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” The repetition of his life is the same as the mundane patterns others engage in. "Campbell’s Soup Cans" grants him permission to grapple with himself.

Highlighting the disposability of items and inaneness in what gets deemed important via trendsetting movements, it became entangled in that. Ironically, the cans generated consumerist cult status and high-end fashion pieces dedicated to them. Can dresses were worn by the elite at the finest dinner parties and were seen on the biggest runways. Now, its influence is far-reaching and source material for rejecting high art.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Manning / Flickr

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80 Nicki Minaj Lyrics Perfect For Instagram Captions

"Yo, you seen my last pic, go double-tap that for me."

Nicki Minaj lets the world know about her amazing Instagram skills in Beyonce's "Flawless," when she raps "Instagram another flawless pic." Do you have a #Flawless Instagram picture but need a clever caption to go with it? The Queen of Rap has plenty of Insta-worthy song lyrics.

*(Some lyrics have been edited to keep this article "PG". Feel free to look up the real Nicki Minaj lyrics if you hate the radio edit.)

When you want to diss a hater:

    1. "You couldn't get a fan if it was hangin' from the ceilin."
    2. "I'm throwing shade like it's sunny."
    3. "I'm in my own lane, you ain't in my category."
    4. "These (girls) couldn’t test me even if their name was Pop Quiz."
    5. "Yo, people will love you and support you when it's beneficial. I'ma forgive, I won't forget, but I'ma dead the issue."
    6. "Not that I don't got good vision, but I don't see competition."
    7. "I’m Angelina, you Jennifer. Come on (girl), you see where Brad at."
    8. "I look like "yes" and you look like "no"."
    9. "But if you're ugly it's a no text zone."
    10. "If you are my rival, then that means you're suicidal."
    11. "Shout out to my haters, Sorry that you couldn't faze me."
    12. "Trash talk to 'em then I put 'em in a Hefty."
    13. "Like I mean I don't even know why you girls bother at this point. Like give up, it's me, I win, you lose."
    14. "All these haters mad because I'm so established."
    15. "Competition? why yes I would love some."

When you want to tell people how awesome you are:

    16. "If I'm fake I ain't notice, cause my money ain't."
    17. "You can hate me, but why knock my hustle? I'ma be the queen, no matter how they shuffle."
    18. "Let me make this clear, I’m not difficult, I’m just ’bout my business."
    19. "I'm feelin' myself."
    20. "Excuse me honey, but nobody's in my lane."
    21. "Put me on a dollar cause I'm who they trust in."
    22. "I don’t say “Hi”, I say “Keys to the Benz.”"
    23. "I've been hot since flip phones" "Running this game for 5 years. Guess that's why my feet hurt."
    24. "Hotter than a middle eastern climate."
    25. "My money’s so tall that my Barbies gotta climb it."
    26. "No, I'm not lucky, I'm blessed, yes."
    27."I ain't gotta compete with a single soul."
    28. "'X' in the box, cause ain't nobody checking me."
    29."Excuse me, I'm sorry, I'm really such a lady."
    30. "Honestly I gotta stay as fly as I can be."

When you're hanging with your clique:

    31. "Cherish these nights, cherish these people. Life is a movie, but there will never be a sequel."
    32. "I’m with some hood girls lookin’ back at it."
    33. "We dope girls, we flawless. We the poster girls for all this."
    34. "Pretty gang, always keep them (boys) on geek."
    35. "The night is still young, and so are we!"
    36. "If you ain’t on the team, you playin’ for team D, ’Cause we A-listers, we paid sisters."
    37. "Pretty (girls) only could get in my posse."
    38. "Cause we the mean girls, y-yes we so fetch."
    39. "We fresh to death, down to the shoes."
    40. "Ain't at no wedding but all my girls cake tops."
    41. "Got a whole bunch of pretty gang in my clique."
    42. "Clap for the heavyweight champ, me, But I couldn't do it all alone, WE."
    43. "Put your drinks up, It's a celebration every time we link up."
    44. "I'm with some flawless (girls) because they be mobbin' pretty."

When you're hanging with your significant other:

    45. "He tryna kick it like a ninja."
    46. "He could tell that I was wifey material."
    47. "Ayo, I just wanna be your first go to."
    48. "You got spark, you, you got spunk. You, you got something all the girls want."
    49. Find me in the dark, I'll be in the stars, Find me in your heart, I'm in need of your love."
    50. "They holler at me, but it's you, you."
    51. "I'm not living right, I’m not living if you’re not by my side."
    52. "I just wanna be somebody that can add to, your wife, be a friend, be a teacher and a fan, too."
    53. "I just wanna be your favorite."
    54. "He was the realest, I was the baddest, we was the illest."
    55. "I know you can save me and make me feel alive."
    56. "Yes I'll be your girl, forever your lady, You ain't ever gotta worry, I'm down for you baby."
    57. "Baby you my everything, You all I ever wanted."

When you're single and loving it:

    58. "You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer!"
    59. "Thats why I'm crowned queen, and I ain't looking for the prom king."
    60. "I like independent, like July 4th."
    61. "I ain't never need a man, to take care of me."
    62. "He be like, "Yo, you so legendary", But he can tell just by my face he ain't getting any."
    63. "I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin."
    64. "I don't even brake when I'm backing up, I'll swerve on a (boy) if he acting up."
    65. "So many boys in here where do I begin?"

When you're just living life:

    66. "I never worry, life is a journey. I just wanna enjoy the ride."
    67. "Tonight is the night that I'ma get twisted."
    68. "I’mma keep it movin', be classy and graceful."
    69. "So make sure the stars is what you aim for, make mistakes though."
    70. "And we gon' hangover the next day. But we will remember this day."
    71. "My only motto in my life is don't lose."
    72. "Take me, or leave me, I'll never be perfect. Believe me, I'm worth it."
    73. "I believe that life is a prize, but to live doesn't mean you're alive."
    74. "I wish that I could have this moment for life."
    75. "If I scream, if I cry, It's only 'cause I feel alive."
    76. "I can't believe it, it's so amazing. This club is heating, this party's blazing.""
    77. "It's so amazing, I figured out this world is ours for the taking."
    78. "I am not a girl that can ever be defined."
    79. "I got next, I'm gonna shine."
    80. "This is my moment I just feel so alive."

Cover Image Credit: Nicki Minaj

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a diary of adulting on $12.50/hr with no outside financial help

A response to a recent Refinery29 "Money Diaries"


Refinery29 recently released an article as part of their "Money Diary" series featuring a 21-year-old intern working in New York City. The internet had a lot of feelings about it.

The piece has been heavily criticized because although she makes $25 an hour her parents pay for most of her expenses, and she also receives $1,100 in monthly allowance from family members. Some of her expenses for the week include a Brazilian wax, a weekend trip to the Hamptons with her best girlfriends, and a $23 goat cheese wrap.

Since I'm also a 21-year-old intern I figured I would throw my story into the ring.

Monthly Income

Industry: Environmental Health

Age: 21

Location: My internship is in Wisconsin, but I live in Syracuse, NY the rest of the time.

Income: $12.50/hr

Additional income: On top of my salary, my parents give me $0/month and my grandpa also gives me $0/month. He also forgets my name sometimes when I visit him in the nursing home.

Monthly Expenses

Rent: I live in a two bedroom, the third floor walks up (aka attic). I'm also renting a dorm room while I'm in Wisconsin. My share is $709 (My parents don't pay for it, I do).

Student loan payments: $50. Although I am still in school I'm hoping to pay a little now will pay off in the future.

Health Insurance: $0, but I pay my own copays (and make my own appointments).

Car & Car Insurance: ~$325.

Hulu & Spotify Premium: $4.99. Gotta love that student discount!

Gym Membership: $35 because the trainer gave me a student discount.

Day One

6:45 AM: My alarm goes off for work. I wake up alone in my twin bed. I feel tired as usual but complete my morning routine which includes putting on makeup and getting dressed. I pack some workout clothes into my backpack for after work.

7:56 AM: Luckily my office is only three minutes away from my dorm so I'll be on time for work as usual. When I get to the office I make a cup of coffee using the communal Keurig. Aldi sells fair trade, recyclable K-Cups so I don't feel as bad about using a Keurig. For breakfast, I have a cup of strawberry yogurt with some almond granola.

10:37 AM: I've spent the last 2 1/2 hours working on my research project and I'm ready to gouge my eyes out. I found a new snack that's gluten-free while buying more coffee at Aldi. They're really good and should hold me over until lunch. I take a stroll to the water fountain and fill up my reusable cup before getting back to work.

12:47 PM: I take my lunch break and make an off-brand lean cuisine in the microwave.

1:03 PM: I can take an hour break for lunch but one of the work cars becomes available so I head out to one of my clients for a follow-up. The location is 40 minutes away. The car that's available is a 2016 Chevy Impala and it's the nicest car I've ever driven. Everyone in the office fights over it.

2:50 PM: I arrive back at the office. I spend 20 minutes filling out paperwork then go back to the intern office to continue my research project. I share this office with two other interns but it's the same size as every other office in the building with one person. Even so, coworkers store some of the things that won't fit into their personal offices or department storage closet.

3:57 PM: I snack on some veggie straws so that I don't feel hungry during my work out.

4:30 PM: It's time to leave so I don't have to worry about my project anymore. I head straight to the gym where I work on legs and do some cardio for 25 minutes.

5:47 PM: I decide to buy something for dinner because all I have at home is rice. I head to Trigs, which is a grocery store found only in Wisconsin. They have my favorite Angie's popcorn, but they want $4 for a bag. I begrudgingly take it because I don't feel like going to the organic store in town. I wander around until I find the prepared food section. They want over $7.50 for one salad. I decide it's not worth it and put back the popcorn and leave.

6:53 PM: I usually would just get a salad from McDonald's for ~$5 but they are having a cyclosporiasis outbreak from their salads so that's not an option. I go to Culver's and pay $6 for a chicken cashew salad.

7:03 PM: I eat my salad while watching YouTube videos. In a perfect world, I would be YouTube famous and be paid thousands of dollars for brand deals and driving something fancier than my Subaru Forester.

10:30 PM: I watch House Hunters on Hulu until I fall asleep. I love House Hunters because it gives me ideas for things to look for in houses for when I can afford a mortgage when I'm 40 years old. Until then, this show is all I have.

Today's Expenses: $6

Not everyone can be so lucky to come from a family with extra money. Even so, I feel incredibly fortunate for what I do have, and that I've been able to sustain myself (for the most part) since I've been in college. I may not be able to afford $23 lunches a few times a week, but I am able to pay my rent on time.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Chan on Unsplash

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