The show consisted of over 400 sculptural works that were made to resemble common commercial items: Heinz Ketchup, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Campbell’s Tomato Juice. The most canonical of these was a silkscreened wooden box of Brillo Soap Pads, a design Warhol had stolen from the abstract expressionist painter James Harvey. This appropriation—of products, celebrities, and even other artwork—demonstrates Warhol’s brilliance, cutting to the essential philosophical question of modernism: what is art (or what isn’t art)? After the Brillo box, Warhol’s response became, “art is what you can get away with.”
Filmmaking at “The Factory”
This conceptual redefinition of art was also embodied at the site of its production. Again equating art to consumer goods, Warhol called his foil-lined studio at 231 East 47th Street in Manhattan “The Factory,” a place where he could both supervise the assembly-line production of silkscreen portraits (on request for only $25,000) and host parties full of the “seedy glamor” he loved.