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Brillo Boxes, 1969 version of 1964 original

Andy Warhol

American, 1928-1987
Acrylic silkscreen on wood
Each box: 20 x 20 x 17 in. (50.8 x 50.8 x 43.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
© 2014 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

Andy Warhol was one of the most important figures in the first generation of Pop artists. Born in Pittsburgh, he studied commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After graduating, he moved to New York to pursue magazine illustration and advertising. His talents put him in high demand among advertising firms and publications. Soon he discovered the world of fine art, where his aptitude and eye for design translated well. The marriage of these two realms resulted in Warhol’s consummate trademark style, with the artist often taking a “hands-off” approach at his art “Factory” by having silkscreens produced under his direction.

Here, the multitude of boxes alludes to the abundance of seriality, as though more exist outside of this gallery. In fact, these Brillo Boxes are 1969 replicas of versions made in 1964. One hundred Brillo Boxes were fabricated by Warhol specifically for the 1970 exhibition that inaugurated the newly built Pasadena Art Museum at Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards, which five years later became the Norton Simon Museum.

Both modular and as a whole, these boxes appear to contribute to a larger continuum. Warhol selected an object that already existed as a manufactured multiple—a case of Brillo-brand soap pads—and continued to add to the scale of their production by producing his own soap pad cases while the Brillo company was simultaneously manufacturing theirs.

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