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On the final Sunday morning of August, 2011, I took advantage of the rare opportunity to experience one of the most famous collections of paintings in the world - Andy Warhol’s original 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans at the prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.

Disappointingly, the museum does not allow photography inside the building. The Museum made sure its policy was being enforced by a rather large contingency of security personnel made up of most bored-looking young men and women dressed matching black suits and ties. It was a quiet Sunday morning at the museum and it seemed that security out numbered the visitors by almost four to one

The first and most lasting impression I have of Warhol’s Soup Can collection are the imperfections that were so surprisingly obvious upon close inspection of the Pop Art masterpieces; small spots of paint here and there, the shades of color that don’t match from painting to painting, and the rather grimy look of the 50 year old canvases.

Warhol produced the paintings in a rush of creativity between the winter of 1961 and and spring of 1962. They were originally exhibited in the summer of 1962 at Irving Blum’s Ferus Gallery in West Los Angeles. At first the exhibit garner scant attention - but it wasn’t long before the love-hate relationship between the work and the public began to manifest itself and turned Warhol, almost over night, into the famous star he had always longed to be.

At the end of the original 1962 exhibition Blum offered to buy the collection from Warhol and purchased the lot for one thousand dollars. In 2000, he sold the collection to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for 15 million dollars. They are now estimated to be worth 100 million dollars.

The MOCA is situated in the middle of an impressive collection of high rise commercial and residential real estate. It features an extensive collection of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art paintings, sculpture and photographs by such iconic personalities as Jackson Pollack, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mark Rothko. In 2002, the museum featured an Andy Warhol retrospective curated by Heiner Bastian. The exhibit was also presented that year at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, and the Tate Modern, London.

A veritable cornucopia of literature is available on Andy Warhol. I would suggest “Warhol - the biography,” by Victor Bockris, and “Pop - the genius of Andy Warhol,” by Tony Scherman and David Dalton.

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The following comments are for "Warhol's Soup Can Paintings at the MOCA."
by johnjohndoe

Dandy Warhol
I honestly have never understood why these paintings are so revered. There is nothing about them that screams genius - but, perhaps, that is their lure.

Hasn't worked on me.

Give me a Paul Klee painting any day over Warhol. Sorry. Hope I don't come off as a jerk. I just don't get Warhol.

( Posted by: toscano [Member] On: September 7, 2011 )

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