Andy Warhol’s Tomato Soup paper bag from his show at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 1966 is certainly one of the most sought after and expensive disposable carry-alls in the world, and also one of the most popular pieces on display in our Proto-Pop exhibit.
Warhol made his first soup can painting in 1962 which catapulted him and the Pop Art style to worldwide fame. The soup can became an icon of the new style, which used consumer items of all types to reveal (often ironically or subversively) the nature of the Post-Modern consumer society.
Warhol returned to the soup can repeatedly in his career, featuring the image in numerous works. Tomato soup, which was Campbell’s first flavor in 1897, was the artist’s preferred subject. In 1965, Warhol began to experiment with the colors of the can for the first time, which can be seen on the ICA bag.
We’re kicking off Proto-Pop with a look at an Object Poster classic: Peter Birkhauser’s Rheinbrucke.
The Swiss Object Poster Style sought to create unforgettable icons out of everyday objects through breathtaking graphics and printing. No one artist knew how to accomplish this better than Peter Birkhauser, who created more than 50 Object Poster masterpieces during the Thirties, Forties and early Fifties.
This elegant poster featuring a simple box is a perfect illustration of Birkhauser’s magic – the crisp folds of the wrapping paper, the trompe l’oeil effect of the green string, and the whimsical flip of the handle represent everything that the department store stands for.
Pop prince Andy Warhol captured a similar aesthetic in his famous Brillo Boxes sculpture, relying on the object to tell a powerful, if altogether contrasting, story. Both artists recognized the natural draw of the Object, and their works speak volumes on the pervasive consumer culture of their respective times.
Our fall gallery exhibit, opening on October 6th, will showcase over 30 Swiss Object Poster masterpieces. Featuring hyper-realistic drawings of everyday things, the Swiss Object Poster focused on the beauty and precision of mundane, commercial products. These stunning, larger-than-life advertisements foreshadowed Pop Art’s similar fascination with basic consumer goods. Both styles transform the commonplace into symbols of their time.
Stay tuned for more details!