“[The boxes] were very difficult to sell. He thought that everyone was going to buy them on sight, he really and truly did. We all had visions of people walking down Madison Avenue with these boxes under their arms, but we never saw them.”Eleanor Ward, art dealer: Stable Gallery, in Warhol by David Bourdon, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, 1995), p.186.
We were having a fairly heady discussion about art, religion, and culture by the time we climbed onto the fifth floor and breathlessly approached the Brillo Boxes. There my thoughts wandered from connections between religious icons and pop culture to a small closet in my kitchen where I have a similar box, crumpled and rusty, stuffed between the Windex and the Comet cleanser.
In all my years of scrubbing with sponges, mops, steel wool, I have rarely stopped to notice the packaging. I just ripped the boxes open and started my work. But these elevated Brillo Boxes show me that we are surrounded by art. It lines the aisles of our supermarkets. It decorates our homes. It festoons our trash bins: pungent red, flashing yellow, telltale white.
My pantry is now a gallery and my chores interactive art.Reverend Gail Ransom, East Liberty Presbyterian Church quoted for The Point of View Label Project, The Andy Warhol Museum, 1999.
"A few days after the move to our [Gerard Malanga and Andy Warhol] workspace, January 28th, a truckload of wood boxes arrived, individually wrapped and taped in clear plastic sheeting. And so would begin the arduous task of taping the floor with rolls of brown paper and setting out each box in a grid like pattern of eight rows lengthwise... Billy Name and I would take turns painting with Liquitex all six sides of each box - which numbered nearly 80 - the Campbell's tomato juice for starters, by turning each box around on its side. We waited until the paint dried. Andy and I repeated this process silkscreening all five sides again down the line. The sixth side - the bottom side - remained blank... Completing the work took nearly six weeks, from early February well into mid-April." Gerard Malanga, Warhol’s studio assistant, Archiving Warhol: Writings and Photographs by Gerard Malanga, 2002 (GMW147-8).