“I just happen to like ordinary things. When I paint them, I don’t try to make them extraordinary. I just try to paint them ordinary-ordinary,” Andy Warhol said in 1962, the same year he painted Campbell’s Soup Cans. With postwar economies booming and individual purchasing power on the rise, the international consumer landscape of the 1960s was full of new products that suddenly seemed essential to modern life and the modern home, from washing machines to TVs.
For artists, too, everyday objects became a subject of inspiration, contemplation, and subversion. The works in this gallery by turns celebrate and critique consumerism, reimagining the items that populate our personal spaces. Though many invoke familiar, quotidian imagery, they don’t all offer comfort: some are unnerving or disquieting, as artists propose uncanny scenarios, challenge gender stereotypes, or inflate small objects into enormous versions of themselves.