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Lesson Campbell’s Soup: Ode to Food

An image of a Campbell’s soup can. The label of the tin can is divided in the middle, the top half being red and the bottom white. The name Campbell’s appears in white script on the top half of the label, and chicken noodle appears in red text on the bottom.

35 x 23 1/8 in. (88.9 x 58.7 cm.)

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup I: Chicken Noodle, 1968
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.2393.2

Compose an ode about your favorite food using illustration and poetry.

Students produce narrative illustrations and writings in the poetic form of an ode after discussing an Andy Warhol quote and viewing his Campbell’s Soup Can artworks. Students explore the concept of liking something so much that one is compelled to create art about that thing.

Objectives

  • Students explain and discuss an ode.
  • Students define and discuss repetition.
  • Students articulate and illustrate food preferences.
  • Students compare and contrast student work.
  • Students assess the effects of repetition in daily life (art, music, food, etc.)
This hand-drawn and painted image of a crushed Campbell’s soup can shows the iconic soup can leaning to the right side of the image, its lid popped open and sticking vertically out of the can. The top half of the logo on the can is red and has “Campbell’s” written in white script, but all of the letters after the first “L” disappear where the can has been crushed into itself. The bottom half of the can is white and identifies the soup as beef noodle in red print. A row of gold fleur-de-lis wraps around the bottom of the can.

Andy Warhol, Crushed Campbell's Soup Can (Beef Noodle), 1962
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.30

About the Art

Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can paintings are key works of the 1960s pop art movement, a moment when many artists made work derived from popular culture. Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans elevate the popular or everyday to the status of art. The Campbell’s brand and its red-and-white label date from the late nineteenth century and became increasingly familiar in the twentieth century, particularly with the increase in mass production and advertising after World War II. Warhol himself said, “Pop art is about liking things,” and claimed that he ate Campbell’s soup every day for twenty years. For him, it was the quintessential American product: he marveled that the soup, like Coca-Cola, always tasted the same, whether consumed by prince or pauper.

I used to drink it [Campbell’s Soup]. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.

Andy Warhol, Artnews, 1963

Discussion Questions

  1. What would you love to eat every day for twenty years?
  2. What would you not like to eat every day?
  3. Does repetition affect your taste for something? Explain your answer.
  4. When an artist repeats an image over and over again, what effect does it have on the viewer?
  5. Why do you think Warhol made so many Campbell’s Soup Can paintings?

Materials

Vocabulary

Procedure

  1. Students write an ode about their food of choice (favorite, aversion, or other) and make an accompanying drawing of this food. (See example handout.)
  2. Explain what an ode is.
  3. Pass out materials and supplies. Students may start with the illustration or the ode or work back and forth between the two.

Wrap-up

Students present their odes to the class and discuss the similarities and differences between the foods the class liked and disliked. First in their journals, then in a class discussion, students reflect on the following questions:

  1.  Did you notice any cultural trends within the class?
  2.  Are the class’s favorite foods advertised in the media? If so, how?
  3.  Does the media affect our likes and dislikes when it comes to food? If so, how?

Assessment

The following assessments can be used for this lesson using the downloadable assessment rubric.

  • Communication 2
  • Creative process 2
  • Creative process 3
  • Creative process 6
  • Critical thinking 2
  • Critical thinking 3