Andy Warhol

Green Coca-Cola Bottles
1962

Not on view

Date
1962

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Acrylic, screenprint, and graphite pencil on canvas

Dimensions
Overall: 82 3/4 × 57 1/8in. (210.2 × 145.1 cm)

Accession number
68.25

Credit line
Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Rights and reproductions
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Green Coca-Cola Bottles was created the year that Andy Warhol developed his pioneering silkscreen technique, which allowed him to produce his paintings through a mechanical process that paralleled his use of mass culture subjects. Here, the image of a single Coca-Cola bottle is repeated in regular rows, seven high by sixteen across, above the company’s logo. The repetitive imagery and standardized format evokes the look of mechanical reproduction, but the black outlines were probably stamped by hand from a single carved woodblock onto green areas printed in a grid pattern. This engenders subtle differences in the work’s pattern; each of the bottles differs in both the evenness of the green underpainting and in the clarity of its stamped profile. The bottles are also often slightly askew, disturbing the overall regularity of the grid and making them appear simultaneously handmade and individualized, streamlined and mass-produced. In his deadpan and ironic way, Warhol at once criticized and glorified the consumerist idols and surface values of America’s media-saturated postwar culture. “A Coke is a Coke,” he explained, “and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.”    


Audio

  • America Is Hard to See, Kids

    Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962

    Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962

    0:00

    Narrator: I bet you've seen one of these before—and drank one too. Who hasn't? That familiarity was part of Andy Warhol's thinking when he made Green Coca-Cola Bottles.
     
    “The President drinks coke,” said Warhol, “and you can drink Coca-Cola, too. . .A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke.”
     
    The Coke seems to make a promise. Each of us has access to everything our neighbor has—we just go to the store! But, can everyone, really? And is that actually so great? Do you really want the EXACT same thing as everyone around you?
     
    Warhol created this piece by silkscreening ink onto canvas, the same method used to mass-produce products like T-shirts. But, while each of the Cokes in Warhol’s silkscreen looks nearly identical, there are subtle variations. Some bottles are askew, some are darker green. What other variations can you spot? Do these variations make this look more machine-made, or handmade?




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