For Grades 3–5
Related to Sweet Dreams, Baby! Life of Pop, London to Warhol (May 31–September 8, 2013)
Table of Contents
100 Cans, 1962
Oil on canvas
72 x 52 inches (182.9 x 132.1 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1963
Background Information for Educators
- Students will become familiar with Andy Warhol’s 100 Cans through observation and discussion
- Students will practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by organizing, writing, and solving mathematical problems and writing mathematical equations
- Students will learn the terms/concepts symmetry, symmetrical, asymmetry, and asymmetrical and apply them to other works of art (see discussion about symmetry)
- Learn the terms brand and logo (see discussion and Art-Related Concepts Activity)
- Create a product and a brand and then use them to create a work of art similar to 100 Cans (see Art-Related Concepts Activity)
- Image for class display
- 5–6 cans of the same kind of Campbell’s soup
- Paper and pencils
- Glue sticks
- Markers, colored pencils, crayons
- Copy machine
Display 100 Cans. Divide your children into groups and give each group a can of Campbell’s soup. How are today’s cans different from Andy Warhol’s painted cans of 1962? How are they the same? If they don’t notice, point out the small yellow circles used to represent the Campbell’s medallion. Why do you think the artist did that? Why did he cut off the bottom of the cans in the last row? Remember that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.
In the 1950s and 1960s, brand labels were becoming potent advertising symbols with the advent of billboards and television. Andy Warhol explained why he chose to portray Campbell’s soup: “I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch everyday for twenty years.” Ask the students about brands. How many brands of shoes can they name? Soft drinks? Soup? Can they identify a certain look or idea attached to a brand name? A symbol? A slogan or jingle that comes to mind? (For example, “Mmmm good, mmm good, that’s what Campbell’s soup is, mmmm good.”) What’s the difference between brands of shoes: Nike and Adidas, for instance? Between different brands of soft drinks: Pepsi and Coke, for example? Between brands of soup?
100 Cans comprises rows of cans placed in straight lines. If you imagine dividing the painting in half to show five cans on either side, each side is exactly the same. This means that the painting is symmetrical. With your students, look at Jim Dine’s Child’s Blue Wall. If you draw an imaginary line through the middle of that painting, are the two sides exactly the same? No! The lamp and the light switch cause one half to be different from the other. This is an example of a picture that is asymmetrical, not symmetrical. Have your students practice finding symmetrical and asymmetrical pictures.
Use 9 black-and-white photocopies of 100 Cans. Cut one into 100 single cans, one into pairs of cans, one into groups of four cans, one into groups of five cans, one into groups of 10 cans, one into groups of 20 cans, one into groups of 25 cans, one into groups of 50 cans, and leave one whole. For each of the cases, ask the students to practice their multiplication tables by using the cans to get to 100. Can you think of other math concepts they can learn from this exercise? Can they learn infinity by guessing how long the stack of cans continues at the bottom of the painting?
Photocopy the Activity Sheet in black-and-white and have your students color it. Ask students to cut the photocopy into a number of pieces, keeping the cans whole (except for the bottom row, of course). Have your students work individually or in groups to put the pieces together. (You may keep the transparency up to help them.) Ask if they can write a mathematical equation that illustrates how their puzzle represents the number 100. It will help if they write the number of cans on the back of each puzzle piece, then turn them over to write an equation.
Find a simple commercial object and have your children sketch it on paper the size of an index card (3 x 5”). A soft drink can, any food that comes in a can, or a carton is a good choice. Otherwise, using one can from 100 Cans as a model, students could invent their own food label. Photocopy each sketch multiple times, have students cut out the multiples, paste them on a larger sheet of paper, and paint or color their compositions. Explain that in art, when we use the same image over and over, it is called a multiple. Look at all the works of art. Have students divide the class’s artwork into two categories: artwork that is symmetrical and artwork that is asymmetrical. Are some artworks harder to categorize? Have students give arguments about why they feel an artwork is symmetrical or asymmetrical. Do they need a third category?
Activity Sheet (PDF)
- New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2 (Art-Related Concepts Activity), 3, 4
- New York State Learning Standard for Math, Science, and Technology 3
- New York State Learning Standards for Mathematical Practice 1–8
- New York State Learning Standard for Social Studies 4 (discussion about brands and logos and Art-Related Concepts Activity)
- College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language 1, 2, 4, 6
- College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 4, 5
Audio for Younger Students
Audio for High School Students