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?
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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