|Andy Warhol’s - “Campbells Soup” - Part II
Reproduction has been the subject of 2D art since the caves at Lascaux (Saffo 1994). With Warhol, the icons just happen to be artifacts from a contemporary society. Why do we look at these two works differently? Warhol interpreted a manmade item and was scrutinized for its similarity to the “original”. Usually, this quality is revered in the fine arts world and is referred to as realism.
“Warhol produced work at an amazing rate. He embraced a mode of production similar to that taken on by the industries he was mimicking, and referred to his studio as "The Factory."” (PBS American Masters Series - Artists of the 20th Century - Andy Warhol). He co-opted the corporations’ mentality and started to actually reproduce his work in mass. This initially startled the public-at-large. As the year 2006 approaches, his use of color and techniques of reproduction are commonplace and accepted.
Warhol seemed to anticipate this culture shift of prolific imagery. He understood that “original” was a rare breed and fading fast. Saffo comments, “We are in the earliest stages of creating in a world of infinite recall, where all can be stored and nothing can be forgotten…” (Saffo 1994). You can play with Warhol’s ways of coloring and reproduction on a personal computer with computer imaging software. Computers and the Internet have played a huge role in the proliferation of imagery. “Above all, the machine has created an astonishing abundance. We live in an age of profligate reproduction…” (Saffo 1994). I made use of this carefree imagery for the top of this essay. After Googling Warhol’s image, I dropped it into my document, selected it with my cursor, hit “Copy” and “Pasted” it seven more times. This took about one minute to complete.
This is making “original” more difficult and sought after than ever before. Population growth has also increased the odds that someone else may have your “original” idea at the same time. What we perceive as “original” has become more valuable as the “it’s all been done before” mentality perseveres.