Warhol's first piece of Pop ephemera


Andy Warhol
Soup Can Pin
[NY: Self-published/Stable Gallery],1962

Warhol's first New York gallery exhibition of his Pop work was at the Stable Gallery. It opened November 6, 1962 and included such now iconic works as Do It Yourself, Baseball, Marilyn Diptych, Gold Marilyn Monroe, 129 Die, Close Cover Before Striking, Red Elvis, Troy Donahue, and Dance Diagram as well as paintings of Soup Cans, Coke Bottles, and Dollar Bills. This pin was given out to guests on opening night, and is thus Warhol's earliest piece of Pop ephemera. It was both an act of shameless self-promotion--the sort of thing that would have been expected at a sales convention or grocery store product launch but jarringly out of place at an uptown gallery, and, given the derisive response the Soup Can paintings had received when shown at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles a year before, a deliberate provocation.  

The show attracted considerable attention--Henry Geldzahler hosted a party in Warhol's honor after the opening, attended by Norman Mailer and other notables, but critical response generally ranged from those who were appalled, to those who found the work effective, though essentially lightweight, as in Michael Fried's write up in Art International:

"Of all the painters working today in the service - or thrall - of a popular iconography Andy Warhol is probably the most single minded and the most spectacular. His current show at the Stable appears to have been done in a combination paint and silk-screen technique... The technical result is brilliant, and there are passages of fine, sharp painting as well... At his strongest - and I take this to be in the Marilyn Monroe paintings - Warhol has a painterly competence, a sure instinct for vulgarity (as in his choice of colors) and a feeling for what is truly human and pathetic in one of the exemplary myths of our time that I for one find moving; but I am not at all sure that even the best of Warhol's work can much outlast the journalism on which it is forced to depend."

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