What do you think of Andy Warhol paintings?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andy Warhol's paintings, Pop Art, as a sub-category of Modern Art, emerged in the mid 1950s but did not reach its height of popularity until the mid-1960s, is a form of expression that incorporates the ordinary into art so as to appeal to the masses that is why it is labeled Pop, as in popular, Art.  

Was Andy Warhol making art for the common folk to enjoy or was he mocking the common folk with his art? Its hard to say what he had in mind when he elevated the Campbell Soup Can to an art form and presented it to the world.

I think that Andy Warhol's work was a reflection of a period where he felt that the ordinary elements of life were being overlooked because of all the chaos and turmoil in the world. During the time when Warhol was making designs of the Campbell Soup Cans and flashy images of Marilyn Monroe, the world was exploding with war and strife in the streets with the Civil Rights Movement, riots and marches.

"In July 1962 Andy Warhol exposed his Soup Can's for the very first time. In total he painted 32 Campbell's Soup Cans in the manner that they were displayed in grocery shops: next to each other and at equal distances. This piece of art was a provocation against the artistic society as he brought supermarkets and art galleries to the same level"

I am particularly fascinated by the Campbell Soup Cans because they were so ordinary, so common, yet when you think about them and the time in which they were painted, they really express simplicity as well as progress.  Soup which is a homey food, traditionally made in kitchens by women, particularly moms and grandmothers, which represent home and family can now be found in a can.  So does that mean that you don't need a mom in the kitchen anymore to make this comfort food?  I think there was a fear in the 1960s that technoloy was robbing society of its individualism, everything was becoming automated.

As an artist who took images from pop culture and made them into iconic expressions of the time, I'm not sure what he was really trying to tell us with his work.  Was he honoring or mocking the images of his society in the mid-20th century.

 Did he chronicle, in his art, a message for future generations a shift in society where more women started to work outside the home, where the world was on the cusp of major change? As if to say, hey, look, Campbell Soup Cans, that's what the 1960s can be represented as,  a commercialized form of home cooking, mom in kitchen no longer needed, just a can opener is required.  We were becoming more mechanical and less personal, and that was only the beginning.  

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andy Warhol presents an interesting critical challenge, I think. Questions of politics and aesthetics are inherent to both his products and his methods. The screen print method making comments on the industrial state of American culture can be seen as a powerful and well-articulated artistic message, laden with irony, wit, creativity, and a certain strain of bitterness.

For me, Warhol forces us to get past the "do I like it or do I dislike it" diametric mode of criticism. There, really, is not much to like in his pieces visually. This makes his art a type of literature; work to be "read" as much as it is to be "seen".  Our responses then become complex, necessarily participating in the subjects presented by the Warhol process, so to speak.  

joe30pl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One can not deny the sheer amount of skill Warhol had at promoting his work. If anything, his skill at showmanship halped sell his art better than the art itself.

As for what I think, Warhol was an artist I just never cared for; his skill was good, but overall I always found his work to be trying too hard to be "special"

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Andy Warhol might not have appealed to everyone, you cannot deny that he was a master of his craft. His ability to see ordinary things in a different light and display them in such a unique way while still being commercially successful was an amazing feat.

epollock | Student

At the time they were very provocative, making a statement that the ordinary can be unordinary, and bringing modernism to the mainstream media.  His showmanship didn't hurt eitherr in publicizing the paintings.