This ownership and possessions. This lack of satisfaction over

This persistent need to collect objects is relevant
in the current media-driven capitalist, western society, where materialism has
become a primary aspect to everyday life. These material goods allow us to
manipulate how we desire to be perceived by others and give us a sense of
control about our outer being. We can tailor our clothes and exterior façade to
alter others impressions of us, a way of defining and maintaining one’s
self-concept. This overbearing power that the media has enforced applies a constant
pressure to our perception of ourselves and belongings, subsequently changing
our relationships with item, materialism stresses the outer world over our
inner world, emphasizing one’s relationship to others through ownership and
possessions. This lack of satisfaction over our belongings drives us to
constantly want more and more. Specifically, in today’s society materialism is
reflected by the consumer culture.  

 

The pop-art movement that arose in the late 1950’s
directly addressed this culture, simultaneously glorifying and criticizing it. This
post war-era was marked by the inevitable period of prosperity and rise of neoliberal
capitalism, a society that promoted a lifestyle of leisure and consumption,
material objects and consumer goods began to be channelled into the art world. Pop
artists created works exploring our everyday lives rather than previously when
works were one-off ‘masterpieces’ worth large sums of money. Warhol completely
reinvented art, changing it from an exclusive product to one that was mass
produced for the masses. Warhol had grown tired of the Abstract Expressionist
of the 1940’s and 1950’s and aimed to recreate the same imagery produced by
advertising. Growing tired if the alienating Abstract Expressionism, he began
applying the concept of advertising to his work, using the images of popular
consumer products and celebrities made the works easier for the viewer to
relate to whilst simultaneously portraying a message. The process of repetition
in ‘Campbells Soup Cans’ (1962) highlights the concept of ‘mass production’,
echoing the appearance of a fully stocked super market shelf with subtle
changes between each print (alike repition in the Goldens’ work).   Following
this work, almost completely transitioned to silkscreen printing and stopped
personally making his artwork. Rather, his assistants produced and printed
silkscreen prints at his New York studio, The Factory. Moreover, as his work
became mass-produced it ironically mimicked the pass-produced products he
depicted in his work, the art becoming a consumer product itself, this way of
working is the opposite of how art was previously viewed, as one of a kind
‘master-pieces’. Warhol’s work not only changed people’s relationships with the
products depicted (as it allowed them to value and appreciate the design) which
would otherwise be overlooked, it also changed people’s relationship with the
art itself.

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Warhol depicted soup cans as he, himself had an affinity with them.
They  were his favourite food and
therefore shows that his work has a special connection to him  “I used to drink it. I used to have the same
lunch every day, for 20 years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” Yet,
the subtle irony that followed pop art, as well as its indirect criticism o
social circumstances, have resulted in the ambulant assessment of their
attitude towards consumer culture. Whether critical or celebratory, Pop Art
certainly illuminated the materialism that dominates the capitalist
society.

 

Playful attitude

Consumer goods and advertising imagery were saturating the everyday
lives of Americans,

The 32 prints echo well-stocked supermarket shelves

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