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Andy Warhol's '15 minutes' of fame are not up yet

By Katherine Dorsett Bennett, CNN
updated 8:33 PM EDT, Wed September 5, 2012
The Campbell Soup Company celebrates the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol's soup can series with special edition labels. The Campbell Soup Company celebrates the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol's soup can series with special edition labels.
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Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
Andy Warhol's 15 minutes
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Campbell's has produced limited-edition soup can labels honoring Andy Warhol
  • Some of Warhol's famous quotes are printed on the soup cans, too
  • Andy Warhol once famously stated that "Pop art is for everyone"

(CNN) -- Iconic Pop artist Andy Warhol is often quoted for his statement, "In the future, everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Twenty-five years after his death, his influence on contemporary art has well surpassed the 15-minute mark.

Campbell Soup Company is the latest entity to honor his legacy.

This week, 1.2 million limited-edition cans of condensed tomato soup with labels inspired by his Pop art go on sale. The specially designed Campbell's soup cans pay tribute to his lively color palette, using orange, blue, pink and teal to spruce up the familiar design. The labels commemorate the 50th anniversary of Warhol's famed art piece "32 Campbell's Soup Cans."

Some of Warhol's famous quotes are printed on the Campbell's cans, too, including "Pop art is for everyone." This quote is significant as his wide-ranging body of work helped "blur the boundaries between high and low culture," said Michael Hermann, director of licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation. Warhol appealed to a massive audience from all walks of life, he said.

Warhol's humble roots stem from a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh, where he was born in 1928. As an adult, he moved to New York City, where he set up a studio and built his fame and fortune. His enormous body of work included multiple mediums and featured subjects ranging from celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe to simple, everyday items such as a banana.

"I believe Warhol's popularity is certainly due in part to his uncanny ability to present the familiar from unexpected perspectives through visually and conceptually impactful works of art. However, it seems his influence today comes as much from his biography as someone who embodied the American dream and celebrated creativity and individuality," said Hermann.

When once asked why he painted the soup cans, Warhol noted, "I used to have the same (Campbell's soup) lunch every day for 20 years."

He was also known to say, "I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it." His unique style of artistic expression and world view is credited for launching his career and the Pop art movement.

Art collectors have paid millions of dollars for some of Warhol's pieces, but shoppers at Target, where the limited-edition soup cans are on sale, will have to shell out only 75 cents for a 10.75-ounce can.

"What continues to amaze me is that 25 years after his death, Warhol continues to have a profound influence on our culture," said Hermann. "For me, this is a true testament to his genius, and I can only imagine that Andy would have loved shopping at Target for this soup."

Campbell Soup Company never commissioned Warhol to paint the original soup cans. Former president and CEO of the company, William Beverly Murphy, initially had reservations about Warhol's work 50 years ago, and Campbell took a "wait and see approach" before fully supporting him. Now, the company takes great pride in its association with the iconic artist.

"Thanks to Andy Warhol's inspired paintings, Campbell's soup will always be linked to the Pop art movement," Ed Carolan, vice president and general manager, of Campbell North America stated in a news release to CNN.

"It is only fitting that 50 years later, we celebrate the enduring legacy of these two American icons by coming full circle and bringing his art back to the Campbell's soup cans that provided him with inspiration," noted Hermann.

The Campbell's soup labels were produced under license from The Andy Warhol Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation that promotes the visual arts. Some revenue generated from the project will fund the foundation's endowment, from which it distributes grants that support the "creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual art," according to Hermann.

In addition to the soup cans, Campbell has partnered with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a sponsor of the educational programs associated with an exhibit paying tribute to Warhol. The show, "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years," opens September 18. Warhol's piece "Big Campbell's Soup Can, 19¢" is included in the exhibition, along with some of his other famous works.

What are your favorite Andy Warhol images? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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