Homage, 1988

Socrates Sculpture Park, 1000 cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, each signed and dated on the bottom, acrylic and wood.  Approximately 20’ x 8’

An opening-day installation at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York, along the banks of the East River (appeared simultaneously with The Color Spectrum in Fruits and Vegetables).  Following the untimely death of Andy Warhol the previous year, this installation featured 1,000 cans of soup placed against a leaning wall of clear acrylic panels divided vertically by two-inch wooden louvers.  The cans were stacked 20 tall by 50 wide.  The wall’s tilt kept the cans in place, while the wooden dividers made it impossible to grab the cans in mid-stack.  The cans could, however, be taken from the top of each stack (visitors to the park were invited to help themselves beginning at 4 pm on opening day).  As the cans were removed, the staggered stacks created an odd, almost eerily-accurate resemblance to the jagged skyline of Manhattan in the background.

homage, 1988

Side note:  To acquire the cans of soup, a detailed letter was sent to Campbell’s explaining the project and requesting a donation of soup.  As the day of the park opening approached, alas, Campbell’s had not replied.  A call to the president of a New York supermarket chain with a soft spot for a struggling artist, however, proved helpful.  “You don’t have the cans of soup from Campbell’s,” he shouted over the phone, “because you don’t know who to call at Campbell’s.  I know who to call.”  Sure enough, three days later, several cases of tomato soup – exactly 1000 cans – arrived from Campbell’s, courtesy the company’s sales team.  The installation went off without a hitch. 
About one month later, a form letter arrived from Campbell’s headquarters under the signature of the person who handled all matters art for the corporation, offering regrets that company would not be able to assist.