Andy Warhol was the father of the Pop Art movement and began painting his famous series of Coca-Cola bottles in the early 1960s. While we do not have any of those items in our collection, (the last one sold at auction for more than 35 million dollars!) we do have a selection of Coca-Cola related Warhol material from later in his career. Last week I installed a small exhibit in our office complex featuring two sets of Warhol material - items created about New Coke and a selection of photographs.
Andy Warhol discovered photography later in his career and by the time of his death, had over 50,000 photographs in his collection. Warhol took a camera with him everywhere he went capturing the personalities he met at The Factory or out on the town. Each night, he would have the negatives developed and the next day would select the images he wanted printed. One print would be made and marked with Warhol’s stamp on the back. This selection of photographs shows the variety of scenes where Coca-Cola was present in Warhol’s daily routine.
On April 23, 1985, The Coca-Cola Company introduced New Coke and for 79 days endured protest, negative PR, grass roots campaigns and even lawsuits to bring back the original formula. Time Magazine asked Warhol to depict New Coke as potential cover art for a story on the episode. These elements show the creative process Warhol employed to create the art. He poured Coca-Cola on art paper to get a proper spill and took the Polaroid's of the cans to capture that effect. The finished art is a screenprint on museum board. In the end, Time opted to not use the art.
While these items are can only be seen at our headquarters building, I am hoping to be able to create a traveling exhibit to make them available to a broader audience. ^TR