In last week’s article, artnet Analytics looked at the Top 10 American Artists of 2012. Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) topped the list with a sales volume of US$380 million. This week, we’re taking a deeper look into the art market for the Brillo Boxes, one of the artist’s most recognizable sculpture series.
Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box plywood sculptures of the 1960s appear as 3-dimensional replicas of the striking commercial packaging, and are often considered to be a logical progression of his earlier Campbell’s Soup Can silkscreens. The sculptures blur the line between art and commodity, forcing the viewer to evaluate the differences between aesthetics and artistry, and between commercialism and art. These ideas have had a profound influence on Contemporary Art. Eric Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum and curator of this year’s Armory Focus: USA, commissioned artist Charles Lutz to create Babel, an installation that incorporated stacked boxes (based on Warhol’s iconic sculptures) that the public was encouraged to take home.
The graph above illustrates the performance of Warhol’s Brillo Boxes at auction from 2002 to 2012. While the S&P 500 and the series progressed similarly from 2002 to 2005, Brillo Boxes sales gained traction in 2006. Since this time, they have consistently outperformed the S&P 500, reaching 600 in 2012. The highest selling sculpture from this series sold in 2008 for US$4.7 million at Sotheby’s New York.
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