When you think of an “American icon,” you typically think of Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, even Rosie the Riveter; however, we often forget that American icons are not only limited to people. On February 26, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta commenced their exhibition The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100. The museum’s exhibit features a new musical anthem, a shift in branding and advertising, and a series of art works by Norman Rockwell, Peter Blake, and, of course, Andy Warhol.
An entire section of the exhibit is dedicated to Warhol and features over 15 art works loaned from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Warhol’s fascination with the Coca-Cola bottle is displayed through his paintings, collages, drawings, photography, films and sculptures.
Warhol used Coca-Cola as a muse in his art for four decades. In the ’50s, he created an ink-on-gouache drawing of the Coca-Cola bottle with a pair of legs. In the ’60s, he removed Coca-Cola ads from magazines to use in collages, silk screens and screen tests. He created a Coca-Cola bottle sculpture in a wooden crate. In the ‘80s, he photographed Coca-Cola memorabilia, and he spilled Coca-Cola on paper for the cover of Time Magazine.
Katie Bayne, Senior Vice President Global Sparkling Brands at The Coca-Cola Company, said, “What we celebrated tonight is more than the anniversary of a bottle, but it’s really become the most famous and most-beloved piece of commercial design in history and it’s reflected in the art”.
The iconic bottle was designed by The Root Glass Company whose 1915 prototype is showcased at the exhibition. The bottle was designed as a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at glance what it was.
As Warhol once said in 1975, “What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too.”
The exhibition is on display through October 4, 2015.