Why did Warhol paint Campbell soup cans?
Christopher Knight of The Los Angeles Times wrote this interesting exploration into what compelled Andy Warhol to paint Campbell soup cans, which “was first displayed publicly at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in July 1962,” as opposed to painting countless other canned goods that reflected the mass consumer US culture. When asked Warhol’s “canned” reply (pun intended!) was that it was merely because he ate Campbell soup everyday for lunch. Others have claimed they suggested it to the artist. Knight has another (fascinating) theory:
“I have a different answer to the question “Why soup?” — one that I don’t believe has been proposed before now. It takes some explaining. But the short answer is this: Soup was essential studio slang, the conversational lingo among New York School painters when they talked about their work.
Specifically, soup was the metaphor used by Willem de Kooning — the most successful artist of the era — to characterize his robust Abstract Expressionism. If soup worked for him, why not for Warhol?”