Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Campbell's Celebration of Andy Warhol

Earlier this week, as I was hurriedly rushing about Target in the 17.5 minute window allotted to this errand, I had to take a double take as I passed an end cap filled with bright, colorful, color-blocked Campbell's soup was such a beautiful display! I stopped for a second to check it out.

Campbell's has produced these limited edition tomato soup cans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warhol's famous work, "32 Campbell's Soup Cans."  The soup labels also display some of Warhol's famous quotations including "Pop art is for everyone", referencing a widely held belief that with respect to art, his work has bridged the cultural gap between socioeconomic divides.  As the most well known artist of the Pop Art movement, Warhol is known for finding inspiration in simple, everyday items such as the Campbell's soup can (of which he apparently ate every day for lunch for 20 years), to use as his subjects in his bold, colorful, dynamic works, making his art relatable to both art collector and commoner, alike.

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can, 1965

Andy Warhol's 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962, he created this series via printmaking technique on 16x20 inch canvases, one of each variety of soup. Initially displayed in the Ferris Gallery in L.A.

Target's colorful current display of limited edition soup cans, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his '32 Campbell's Soup Cans'

Photo obtained from, of Andy Warhol gathering up Campbell's soup cans (presumably for his famous work??), at N.Y.'s Gristede's Supermarket

According to Katherine Dorsett Bennett's CNN article, "Andy Warhol's '15 Minutes' of Fame are not up yet"...

"This week, 1.2 million limited-edition cans of condensed tomato soup with labels inspired by his Pop art go on sale. The specially designed Campbell's soup cans pay tribute to his lively color palette, using orange, blue, pink and teal to spruce up the familiar design. The labels commemorate the 50th anniversary of Warhol's famed art piece "32 Campbell's Soup Cans.""

Interestingly, Campbell's has traveled full circle in this current celebration of the iconic artist.  According to USA Today's article, "Campbell Channels Andy Warhol for New Soup Cans"...

"Campbell Soup's embrace of Warhol's iconic imagery is a switch from its initial reaction to Warhol's use of the cans in a painting, when the company considered taking legal action before deciding to see how the paintings were received by the public.
"There's some evidence to show there was a little bit of concern," said Jonathon Thorn, an archivist for Campbell Soup. "But they decided to take a wait-and-see approach."
By 1964, however, the company realized the paintings were becoming a phenomenon and embraced the depictions. Campbell's marketing manager even sent Warhol a letter expressing admiration for his work."

From a business perspective, Huffington Post's Priscilla Frank discusses the role of stellar marketing in her article, "Andy Warhol vs. Robert Cenedella: How Branding Made Warhol (And Cambell's Soup) A Star"....

"Both Target and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are honoring Warhol this month, in an appropriately Warholian elimination of the space between consumerism and art.Target has released limited edition Warhol inspired soup cans while the Met is exhibiting 60 artists influenced by the Pop Master. To be honest, not only had we not heard of Cenedella, but we didn't even know Heinz made soup! Looks like Warhol turned out to be the victor.
And yet Kitman insists that not only was Cenedella a better artist, but Heinz a better soup. According to Kitman, the two budding painters debating soup quality over drinks in SoHo multiple times, a priceless image to be sure. Yet while the two were getting buzzed discussing which soup was paramount, Campbell's was busy using Warhol's work as their ticket to soup-perstardom. The Campbell's marketing team ate up what Warhol was dishing out, turning his sarcastic commentary on consumerism into a brilliant cultural takeover. In Kitman's words, praising the overlooked Cenedella-Heinz combo: "The painting is better. The soup is better. The only thing better about Warhol's tomato soup was the marketing campaign."

In honor of this creative celebration, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes for Tomato-Cheese-Tortellini Soup, which I often make more as a pasta by reducing the qty of broth....SO easy and SO delicious!!

tomato-tortellini soup
Recipe from
Cream cheese and tomato soup make a rich and creamy base for this four-ingredient tortellini soup recipe that can be prepared in just 15 minutes.

Tomato-Tortellini Soup

by12 people

Servings: 4 servings
Total Time: 15 mins
Ingredients on sale: 1
Related Categories: SoupTomato SoupTortellini

  • 2  14-ounce cans
    reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1  9-ounce package
    refrigerated tortellini
  • 1/2  of an 8-ounce tub
    cream cheese spread with chive and onion
  • 1  10.75- or 11-ounce can
    condensed tomato or tomato bisque soup
  • Snipped fresh chives (optional)


In a medium saucepan, bring broth to boiling. Add tortellini; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. In a bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of the hot broth into the cream cheese spread until smooth. Return all to saucepan along with tomato soup; heat through. Sprinkle with chives before serving. Makes 4 servings.

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