Arts and Humanities:
9.1.8. E Communicate a unifying theme or point of view through the production of works in the arts.
9.2.8 D Analyze a work of art from its historical and cultural perspective.
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening:
1.4.8 A Write short stories, poems and plays.
Learning Objectives and Cognitive Skills:
Synthesize and Apply:
Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can paintings are key works of the 1960s Pop Art movement, a time when many artists made work derived from popular culture. Warhol's soup cans raise the simply popular or everyday to the status of art. Campbell's and its red and white label date from the late nineteenth century, and became more and more familiar in the twentieth, particularly with the increase in mass production and advertising after World War II. Warhol himself said, "Pop art is about liking things," and claimed that he ate Campbell's soup every day for 20 years. For him, it was the quintessential American product: he marveled that the soup always tasted the same, like Coca-Cola, whether consumed by prince or pauper.
“I used to drink it [Campbell’s Soup]. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.”
The Campbell's Soup Can series makes me laugh. In this particular piece I want to know whom the brat was that ripped the label. The simplicity of Warhol's work frustrates me. The Campbell's Soup Can painting conjures up the same emotions as a paper clip or a post-it note: "Why didn't I think of that?" Lifting a soup can up to the level of art doesn't put Warhol in league with Raphael, but it does show some Thomas Edison-style ingenuity. The Campbell's series confirms that if Warhol had but one virtue it was awareness. We are all bombarded by popular culture and Warhol was able to recognize that overwhelming influence. He took a soup can, an image recognized by all, and elevated it to the level of art. I'd call him the All-American artist because he made his medium accessible to people of every class and race. The bright color and provocatively bland subject of the Campbell’s series make room for disagreement among the College educated as much as high school dropouts.
Tom Laskow, CAPA High School student, Youth Label Project,
Youth Invasion, The Andy Warhol Museum, 2004.
Soup as the humble meal celebrated by Daumier; soup as the melting pot in an increasingly homogenized America; soup as transition from homemade to pre-prepared item; soup as "good" or "bad" taste, both on the tongue, and as advertising design. Peeling back the label to reveal a generic shape of the machine age generates food for thought: who tracked its route down the assembly line? Who are the tastemakers who determined the flavors of its contents, defining good and bad in terms of sales potential? What were the mechanisms involved in its delivery? Why would Warhol claim that he ate it every day?
Pamela Allara, professor of art, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, quote from
Point of View Label Project, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, 1999.
I've always found it tremendous fun to strip the label off a can - an act of violent, seductive denuding. Deprived of its paper vestment, a can is anonymous, cold, and eternal as a Greek temple's column. The lacerations in the label are like St. Sebastian's wounds - sadomasochistically homoerotic. The unpeeling paper also resembles a spool of 16mm film, the strip of curvy celluloid loosening from its reel.
Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and critic, quote from Point of
View Label Project,
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, 1999.
Image of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup
‘Ode to Food’ template (print out on paper)
‘Ode to Food’ example
1. Students write an ode about their food of choice (favorite, aversion, or other) and make an accompanying drawing of this food. (See examples)
2. Explain what an ode is:
Ode: noun (Middle French or Late Latin) a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation (elevation, glorification) of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity
of stanza forms.
3. Pass out materials and supplies. Students may start with the illustration or the ode or work back and forth between the two.
Assessment and Wrap-up:
Students present their odes to the class and discuss the similarities and differences between the foods the class liked and disliked. First in their journals, then in a class discussion, students reflect on the following questions: