art history/artists, Indiana-Gary, Memoir, Non-Fiction

#636 Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana

 Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana

Andy Warhol is the man the art world associates with Pop Art. He painted the Campbell’s soup cans and soon brought the idea of assembly line artwork back into society’s view. Why did Andy paint the soup cans?

Andy grew up poor. His family was an immigrant family. One of the things that Andy and his family ate, all the time, were sandwiches and Campbell’s soup. Andy often got to pick the flavor of soup as he was doted on by his mother.

Andy went to school. He became a commercial artist. No one in the commercial art world in New York minded that Andy was gay, but due to the time, Andy still had to hide a bit who he was. At one point Andy painted his soup cans, by hand, at first. He hated that soup; it reminded him of his poor times.

Andy’s soup cans revolutionized the way people look at art and why they make it. Andy didn’t want deep analysis into his artwork. He just wanted to make it for the heck of it. Andy ultimately could never get away from the soup cans, even though his body of work branched out to include other art mediums and even film.

What I liked

Andy Warhol was an interesting, albeit, weird, guy. At the time, an artist had to have some guts to paint a Campbell’s soup can and call it an original artwork. Andy had those guts. Andy had the guts to be weird and non-conformist during a time when it wasn’t exactly celebrated. There is something about Andy that is relatable and reassuring. I liked reading about him. I had no idea about his struggles with poverty growing up, but it makes sense.

What I didn’t like

Andy’s story is great and all, but this book was written in such a manner as to render the content bland. I’m sure Gary is a great guy, but this book was written like a series of boring art essays that a person would find in some boring art criticism magazine. It was all very well researched and put into a logical order, but it’s not exciting. It’s not entertaining. It’s informative, yes, but entertaining…no.


I would like to find out more about Andy.

Weigh In

Do you think you would have to guts to paint a soup can and call it art?

Do you think people who grew up in poverty and were later well-to-do always try to get away from their pasts?


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