Pasadena Art Museum – Brillo Soap Pads,
Pasadena Art Museum – Brillo Soap Pads, 1970
Screenprint in colours
Sheet: 76 × 66 cm
Framed: 87.5 x 97 cm
Warhol famously summarised the American consumer experience thus: “A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”
In the years following the Second World War America experienced a boom in economic growth. This was accompanied by an explosion of advertising and consumerism, and it was in this heady environment that Pop Art flourished. Warhol was fascinated by the democratic power of branded objects and the way they permeated every level of society.
Warhol unveiled his first Brillo Box sculptures at New York's Stable Gallery in 1964. Life-size replicas of the real packaging constructed from plywood, paint and silkscreen ink, they were stacked up up in the gallery in a way that mimicked a supermarket stock room. Warhol had elevated an everyday mass-produced household item to the realm of high art, completely inverting the established hierarchy of the art world. They remain some of his most iconic works.
This bold poster was created in a special green, blue and yellow colour variation to accompany an exhibition held from 12th May - 21st June 1970 at the Pasadena Museum in California. Warhol also created one hundred brand new Brillo Boxes in plywood for the occasion. The show eventually travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; The Tate in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. An impression of this poster is held in the Whitney's permanent collection.
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