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Art History

Essay by   •  April 23, 2012  •  Term Paper  •  2,013 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,792 Views

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When analyzing artwork, one should not simply look at the picture at face value,

but rather look in depth at the meaning as to why depict that specific setting, colors, and

scene. The artist, Andy Warhol, is a unique artist. His artwork is anything but typical; he

often uses random objects and arranges them in a specific way to create a symbolic

meaning and calls it art. After studying his technique, I have found the meaning behind

the paintings, "Campbell's Soup Cans" and "200 One Dollar Bills" by Andy Warhol.

The painting, "Campbell's Soup Cans," by Andy Warhol, was completed in 1962.

These 32 soup cans each are 20 inches by 16 inches and arranged in a 4x8 pattern (Fiero,

65). Many wondered why Warhol would choose to create such a bizarre display. Once

he stopped creating cartoon art, a friend named Muriel Latow came up with the idea to

create the 32 soup cans. French artist, Marcel Duchamp, said, "If you take a Campbell

Soup can and repeat it fifty times, you are not interested in the retinal image. What

interests you is the concept that wants to put fifty Campbell soup cans on a canvas"

(Fiero, 66). After the success of this artwork, Warhol created more and more variations

involving Campbell's soup can such as, "Crushed Campbell's Soup Can," "Campbell's

Soup with Can Opener," and "Torn Campbell's Soup Can." Warhol became known as a

simplistic artist, but was highly respected (Fiero, 66).

Andy Warhol's type of artwork is known as Pop Art. He created each individual

can of soup with synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Warhol knew that if he wanted to

make art from mass-produced objects, he would not be able to simply paint them. The

idea of using synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen creates the image of mass-production

in America because silkscreen is the commercial form of printmaking used in t-shirts

(Fiero, 66).

Warhol's artwork symbolized mass production of items in America. Warhol

created this in response to the American culture that surrounds us. Americans completely

understand the idea of the mass-production and the idea that the United States always

wants to do things "bigger than life" and over the top. However, in Europe, many

Europeans look at the idea of this artwork differently. Many thought of it as a Marxist

satire on American capitalism or at least a Marxist critique of pop culture, but since

Warhol was not interested in politics, this was probably not the case. More likely, this

whole artwork may have been just an attempt to get attention and make his name more

famous.

I chose to research "Campbell's Soup Cans," by Andy Warhol because I

personally saw this painting in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I

remember being very confused about this painting and I didn't understand how this was

art. Many people around me would laugh when they saw this painting, commenting, "I

could do this!" It seems like a simple idea, but I find it very interesting now that I

researched it that it might have represented mass production in the United States.

Andy Warhol's "200 One Dollar Bills" was another odd display of art and was

also completed in 1962. This painting was a model painting of its time. This artwork has

10-dollar bills across by 20-dollar bills downwards. He created this at the same time as

he created the Campbell's painting. The same friend, Muriel Latow, who told Warhol to

create the Campbell painting, told him to create this painting with the 200 one-dollar

bills. In New York, this artwork was sold for $43.8 Million (Fiero, 67). This style is

similar to the last artwork. It is considered Pop Art because it challenges the traditional

ways by mass-producing aspects of pop culture (in this case, money) while at the same

time, has aspects of fine art. This artwork is similar to the Campbell's soup display in

that they both are trying to show capitalistic America. He shows that money is the all-

powerful. Rather than putting two one hundred dollar bills together to create a total of

$200, he chooses to create 200 bills to show the size and the degree to which capitalism

in America is a factor (Fiero, 67).

I chose this painting because it really shows a great comparison to the first

painting in the fact that many of the same items are used over and over to create an image

and make a point. When I saw this artwork originally online, I did not know what it

could symbolize or represent; however, after studying the life of Andy Warhol and

understanding the type of art that interests him, it became clear that this was a statement

of American capitalism. The interest people have in this artwork and the interesting style

allowed it to be sold for $43.8

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