Saturday Scenes

Thu 14 July 2011

But is it Art?

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:57

On the 9th of July in 1962, Andy Warhol opened a one-man gallery exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibition consisted of thirty-two 20-inch canvases, each with a portrait of a can of Campbell’s soup.

There are various theories as to why the artist chose soup cans for his art but the most likely is that it was gallerist Muriel Latow who suggested the idea in the first place.

Andy Warhol Soup Cans

[Andy Warhol] said, ‘The cartoon paintings… it’s too late. I’ve got to do something that really will have a lot of impact, that will be different enough from Lichtenstein and Rosenquist, that will be very personal, that won’t look like I’m doing exactly what they’re doing.’ And he said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ ‘So,’ he said, ‘Muriel, you’ve got fabulous ideas. Can’t you give me an idea?’ And, so, Muriel said, ‘Yes.’ ‘But,’ she said, ‘it’s going to cost you money.’ So Andy said, ‘How much?’ So she said, ‘Fifty dollars.’ She said, ‘Get your cheque book and write me a cheque for fifty dollars.’ And Andy ran and got his cheque book, like, you know, he was really crazy and he wrote out the cheque. He said, ‘All right, Give me a fabulous idea.’ And so Muriel said, What do you like more than anything else in the world?’ So Andy said, ‘I don’t know. What?’ So she said, ‘Money’ … And so Andy said, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful.’ So then either that, or, she said, ‘you’ve got to find something that’s recognizable to almost everybody. Something you see everyday that everybody would recognize. Something like a can of Campbell’s Soup.

Everybody did recognize it and the exhibition made Warhol famous. His later pop art gained acclaim after the West Coast debut and although the Campbell’s Soup canvases were initially sold at $100 a piece, his art quickly became valuable collectors’ items. The highest price paid for a single Warhol painting was $100 million, painted a year after the soup exhibition.

And almost fifty years later, people are still debating their artistic value.

On the 9th of July in 2011, the following digitised colour prints were deemed both artistic and valuable Saturday Scenes:

Just don’t go trying to sell them for $100 million. But if you do, I want a cut!

Here are the photographers and documenters who have taken these fine photographs:

Next week: Self-Portrait Saturday! Just like every other Saturday except that you are invited — encouraged even! — to turn the camera around and take a photograph of yourself. We’ve done this two years in a row now:

The rules are simple: You have to take the photograph on Saturday, just like every other week! Simply send it in with a location and we’ll end up with a great collage.

You don’t have to take a self-portrait if you don’t want to but it sure is fun to see the faces behind the lens.

See you on Saturday?

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