Art Can Be Used to Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

On some level, all art tells the viewer something about its sociological context. A painting by Vermeer says much about gender roles and norms in Flemish society; just as a painting by Warhol says much about consumerism in American society.

One irony that Bennett points out is, "Art collectors have paid millions of dollars for some of Warhol's pieces, but shoppers at Target, where the limited-edition soup cans are on sale, will have to shell out only 75 cents for a 10.75-ounce can." Warhol's art is the ideal bridge between "low" and "high" art, evidenced by this differential in pricing. The "authentic" painting by Warhol is worth millions, but the authentic item that Warhol depicted on the canvas is only worth 75 cents. Consumers place a high demand on something that is deemed valuable and irreplaceable, but not as high of a demand on food.

Andy Warhol's "100 Cans" points out that Americans have been seduced by consumerism and materialism, to the point where they cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not. Indeed, this is true with regards to food itself. Warhol might have eaten Campbell's soup every day for lunch, but that does not mean that Campell's Soup is necessarily a good thing. Warhol grew up in the era when mass produced food became common. Industrialized food is one of the root causes of obesity in America, as more people have access to cheap methods of ingesting large amounts of fat, sugar, and salt. Wooed by advertisements, consumers have become unable to discern the difference between real food and processed food. The people symbolized by "100 Cans," that is, suburban people in America living in track housing or McMansions, are the ones most prone to buying the Warhol can from Target. Warhol's "100 Cans" says a lot about American culture.

While Warhol was not a political activist, his art has encouraged many people to take a closer look at American society. American society has become interested in conformity and homogeneity, evidenced by the 100 soup cans all in a row, looking identical to one another. Similarly, the artist painted the 100 soup cans because he ate the same thing for lunch every day. He was able to do that because of mass market and industrialized food production. These same issues play themselves out decades later, as the Target soup cans proves. The sociological issues at stake include conformity, consumerism, and the disempowerment of America by corporate greed. Looking at Andy Warhol's original soup cans in a museum is cheaper than either purchasing the original painting or a soup can, and can inspire one to make a change in their eating habits or spending habits.

Works Cited

Albright-Knox Gallery. "100 Cans." Retrieved online: http://www.albrightknox.org/collection/collection-highlights/piece:100-cans/

Bennett, Katherine Dorsett. "Andy Warhol's '15 Minutes' of Fame are not up yet." CNN. 5 Spet, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/living/campbell-soup-company-andy-warhol

Vogel, Carol. "Warhol Soup Cans, Now at Your Local Target." New York Times. Retrieved online: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/warhol-soup-cans-now-at-your-local-target/

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Albright-Knox Gallery. "100 Cans." Retrieved online: http://www.albrightknox.org/collection/collection-highlights/piece:100-cans/

Bennett, Katherine Dorsett. "Andy Warhol's '15 Minutes' of Fame are not up yet." CNN. 5 Spet, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/living/campbell-soup-company-andy-warhol

Vogel, Carol. "Warhol Soup Cans, Now at Your Local Target." New York Times. Retrieved online: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/warhol-soup-cans-now-at-your-local-target/

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