Another narrative direction for artists who want to paint the “modern” spirit, is to celebrate American wealth and prosperity. After W.W.II, industrialization, mass production, increased consumerism, and the growth of suburbia fueled an American economic boom on a scale that had never been seen before.


Paintings such as Andy Warhol’s 100 Cans, 1962, focuses on our consumer culture where with mass production and lower costs, goods are affordable by the masses, even to the point of conspicuous consumption. For Warhol, a supermarket display of 100 cans of the same flavor of soup, their easily recognized corporate logo (with warm red and yellow/gold), and stacking follow the mantra of “the more, the better.” Even his representations of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and other celebrities of the post-war period simulated the multiple, cheap, and disposable images that consumers/viewers are bombarded with by the media and advertisers. Paralleling an appliance store’s wall of televisions each tuned to the same channel, this repetition tends to desensitize viewers to the content. They blankly stare at the colors, lines, and shapes. This is the modern representation of capitalism: slick, gimmicky, witty, and seductive.