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My Interview with a Famous Tomato Soup Can September 17, 2008

Posted by whatacharacter in Art, humor, life.
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Interview with a Soup Can
by G.H. Humes © 2008

Warhol’s Campbells Tomato Soup Can

The following is a rare exclusive interview with Andy Warhol’s famous can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup [TM reg. pat. off.], which was Campbell’s first brand of soup originating in1897, appearing in the upper left corner of Warhol’s renowned “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” series of 1962.

This insightful talk offers a rare candid glimpse into the trend setting New York art scene of the early 60’s. How excited I was to be able to interview such a star icon of pop culture! The can obliged to meet with me with the provision that no Swiss army knives or oyster crackers could be in the room. [note: all instances of referring to the can as “Tom” have been removed at the agent’s request.]

I: Thank you for you time Tomato Soup can. It’s been over 46 years since being discovered by Andy Warhol, and making it to the top of the silk-screening scene at “The Factory” in New York City. Your popularity today shows no signs of drawing back. How did you feel back then, going from one factory canning process, to another in art at “The Factory”?

Can: “ ”

I:  Yes, it is indeed one of those existential questions without easy or utter-able answers.  I suppose it was by random chance you were preserved from consommé or otherwise consumed existence (self referring laughter ensues). Tell us how are you feeling after all these years?

Can: “Exp. date Nov 1969”

I:  *laughs* Many of us feel past our expiration dates by a certain age, but certainly you don’t look too yellow around the label. Time has been good, and I’m sure you’ve seen much. Care to relate any wild tales from the NY art scene of the 60s?

Can: “ ”

I: Your hesitancy is natural, and if you prefer to keep your memories private we’d understand … but could you offer perhaps just one tidbit of enlightenment to our readers?

Can: “condensed”

I: Indeed! The confluence of diverse inspirational catalysts certainly permeated the very air in those heady times! Besides Mr Warhol himself, who else would you say were some of the top movers and shakers in those days?

Can: “ ”

I: Perhaps you speak of John Cage. It would be hard to say who else, with so many of the avant-garde counter-culture running around The Factory – like musicians Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico … filmakers, photographers, painters, actors … and who can forget Ultra Violet, or Edie Sedgwick?
How do you feel that the highest price paid for any of the Soup Cans was $11.66 million US in 2006, for a torn labeled Pepper Pot can … and not Tomato?

Can: “ ”

I:  As diplomatic an answer as I can imagine. I’ve felt it somewhat gauche that certain puerile interests in human nature find cans in various states of undress more provocative.
It’s interesting to me that few realize that there were 32 different Campbell’s soup can flavors appearing in the original 1962 show, yet you remain the most iconic of the group!
Do you think the Chicken with Stars soup can is still as presumptuous as back then? And what do you say about the modern “Healthy Choice” low sodium can version of you today?

Can: “ ”

I: Tactful answer. Yes, probably best not to say without your lawyers present. However, if I may ask … which do you prefer, mixing with water or milk?!

Can: “ ”

I: *laughs*  Maybe you burned the photos by now. Quite the steamy pot running around the streets of the Village back then, eh wot?
Regarding Warhols choice to pick you as a pop icon: it seems he consumed quantities of similar soup substances before holding you up before the world. It’s been debated whether someone’s suggestion prompted him, nevertheless he was quoted as saying “I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it.”
How do you feel about that statement?

Can: “ ”

I: Truer words could not be said … the genius that you are! (applauds)
Well Tomato Soup Can, we certainly appreciate your time *not* opening up to us, as you might smell a bit by now …but we certainly hope you continue to enjoy your sweet success maintaining stark reverence to basic patented consumer marketing … or wait, were you supposed to parody that?

Can: “ ”

I: Zen indeed, Tomato Soup Can! Zen indeed! Let the reader judge for hermself.

More exciting new for next month readers! We pop the lid on Duchamp’s toilet seat, and who knows what we’ll find!? Perhaps old sticky dada?