The Art of Soup

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Art and Culture

Is the blatantly mundane beautiful and rich with meaning? I mean, the alarm clock that gets me up every morning, the toothbrush I stick in my mouth repeatedly, the Campbell’s Soup can I make lunch with regularly- especially the Campbell’s Soup can, that iconic image of the blatantly mundane turned into art.

In 1962, Andy Warhol exhibited his 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans– 32 separate canvasses, each portraying one of the canned soup flavours the company offered at the time. The canvasses were hung on a wall and rested on a shelf, just like the cans they portrayed are displayed in grocery stores.

Turning a mass-produced commodity into art that was itself mechanically and repetitively produced (Warhol used semi-mechanized silk screening to create the work) shocked the art world which was then immersed in abstract expressionism. It brought supermarkets and galleries to the same level- and made art accessible and relatable to the masses.

The piece reflected the industrialization and increase in mass consumption that was the flagship of America’s changing economy. Warhol turned a brand of packaged food found in nearly every household into a legitimate subject of art.  

Later in his career, when asked which of his works was his favourite, he responded that it was his Campbell’s Soup work: “I love it. I just paint things I always thought were beautiful, things you use every day and never think about… I just do it because I like it.”

Do you notice the beauty in the trivialities of your everyday life?

Image source

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Kleenex

It’s not the actual thing itself. Tiny paper fibers turned into a soft tissue doesn’t mean a thing to me. It’s what it represents- the weddings, break ups, funerals, births, spills, drools, and slivers.

The moments of my life, captured in a box of disposable softness, marketed as comfort.

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8 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Writing

8 responses to “The Art of Soup

  1. Coffee in the morning

    I got up early today and took a brief moment to check out the blog world. Here I am an hour later still checking. Ha! My cup of coffee in the morning! Where is it? Why do I carry on here any longer without this everyday early morning pleasure? I shall stop here at your suggestion and contemplate this simple pleasure while I prepare a pot to brew. Coffee in the morning. Smell it? …. inhale …

    • Your comment made me smile. The beauty of coffee in the morning- hot chocolate in my case. Yes, surely something to sip, savour, smell, inhale.
      And, that blog world sure can suck you in fast, can’t it!

  2. Good design is nice to look at…I have a little jug made in the 50s by Woolworths. A humble object but I like to look at it every day.

    • Here in Canada, something made in the 50s would be considered an antique, adding to its novelty value. Doubtfully looked at in the same way in your part of the world, but appreciated nonetheless by the sounds of it.

  3. And the advent of blooming wattle trees and spring hayfever 🙂 I love the way you have taken a mundane everyday object and made me see it in a totally different light. That’s art 🙂

    • Thanks Bluebee. Thinking and writing these various posts is changing the way I look at the world around me, showing me the beauty in things I take for granted. Wonderful when someone else sees the same.

  4. This post is really making me think 🙂 – I notice the beauty and symmetry in clouds, rock formations, plants shapes, birds, waves etc but other than buildings, very few man-made things unless their design annoys me (which says way too much about me :-)) Anyhow, your post has inspired me to look at things a little differently now. Thanks

    • I am a bit of a cynic/conspiracy theorist, so looking at machine-made products as ‘beautiful’ challenges me as well. Yet, why not? The shade of red on Campbell’s Soup can make you glad to be alive…

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