Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes” Are Not up Yet…

Maggie McGaharan, JMJ, Author

On September 23rd, my mother and I went to Target to purchase groceries and whatever else we happened to need at the time. As we were passing the canned goods aisle, a wild wall of Campbell’s tomato soup appeared (fans of Pokemon will get the reference). But not just any Campbell’s tomato soup- Andy Warhol 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Campbell’s tomato soup!
     These soup cans celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Andy Warhol’s famous collection of paintings “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans.” There are four different cans with various quotes on each of them, including “Pop is for everyone” and  “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
     Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he was eight-years-old, Andy was diagnosed with chorea, a neurological disorder which causes spontaneous uncontrollable movements. Because of this, he had to spend most of his childhood in hospitals causing him to develop hypochondria.  He spent most of his childhood in bed, and became an outcast among his schoolmates.
     When Warhol was 13, his father died due to a freak accident and Andy was left with his mother, three brothers, and two sisters. To fill the void left after his father died, Andy began listening to the radio, drawing, and collecting pictures of fashion and celebrities which he would hang on a wall next to his bed. During this time, Warhol’s physical health improved, though he was diagnosed with dyslexia and suffered with undiagnosed Schizophrenia.
     When he turned 21, Andy Warhol moved to New York City to illustrate advertisements, specifically shoe advertisements. His “15 minutes” began shortly after when a representative of RCA Records saw one of Warhol’s shoe advertisements and hired him to make album covers. As Andy Warhol and his art became more recognized, he extended his media to  include drawing, sculpting, audio, time capsules, television, fashion, performance art, theater, photography, and even early computer graphics.
     In 1968, Andy Warhol produced one of his greatest works-”32 Campbell’s Soup Cans”. After painting this collection, Andy Warhol only ate Campbell’s tomato soup for twenty years. “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.”
     Andy Warhol was fascinated with Campbell’s tomato soup because it was a quintessential American product. Andy Warhol expounded how the soup always tasted the same, no matter what social class was eating it.
     There were only 1.2 million of these Andy Warhol 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Campbell’s tomato soup cans produced worldwide. Each can is 10.75 ounces and costs 75 cents- a small price to pay for a taste of pure POPism. Head on over to your local Target and get yourself a piece of Warhol history.