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Andy Warhol's Brillo Box

01/01/1964 (Aprox)


The fact that our brains may be predisposed one way or another toward certain qualities, such as proportion, symmetry, or scale invariance, does not help us better understand aesthetic experience as aesthetic and as experience. Common perceptual mechanisms are surely involved in looking at Andy Warhol’s 1964 sculpture Brillo Box in a gallery and at James Harvey’s original Brillo boxes in a supermarket.


Harvey’s representative complained about Warhol’s use of his client’s design, yet he despondently admitted, “What’s one man’s box, may be another man’s art” (Gaddy 2007). While neuroaesthetics does not aim to analyze such a situation, it should at least have the means of taking it into account.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

The Brillo Box photographed by Pedro Ribeiro Simões at the Berardo Collection in the Cultural Center...

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Brillo Box in the MoMA exhibition "Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen". Photograph by Jona...

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The article below further explains the history of the Brillo Box and its original designer, James Harvey. You can also find the Brillo Box at MoMa:

Shadow Boxer

The Brillo Box at MoMA

There's a 2017 HBO documentary called "Brillo Box (3¢ Off)". It's about a yellow Brillo Box bought in 1969 by Lisanne Skyler's parents and sold 40 years later for more than $3 million. Watch the trailer below:

Brillo Box (3¢ off) - Trailer (HBO Documentary Films)

Artistic appreciation has been a matter of inquiry for aestheticians and philosophers for a long time, and Vidal and Ortega's work shows us that it continues to be so in the recent work of neuroaestheticians. In case the Brillo Box made you wonder about the limits of art, we suggest you delve into this question through the links below:

Brillo: Is It Art? A Lesson at The Andy Warhol Museum

Aesthetic Appreciation: Crash Course Philosophy #30
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist, often considered the leading figure of the pop art m...

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Published in 17/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 2: Neuroaesthetics:


01/01/1997 (Aprox)01/01/1999 (Aprox)Coining of the word NeuroaestheticsCoining of the word Neuroaesthetics
01/01/2010 (Aprox)Neuroaesthetics as a field of studyNeuroaesthetics as a field of study
01/01/2013 (Aprox)Foundation of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical AestheticsFoundation of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
01/01/2008 (Aprox)Coining of the term NeuroarthistoryCoining of the term Neuroarthistory
01/01/2004 (Aprox)Neural Correlates of Beauty, by Hideaki Kawabata and Semir ZekiNeural Correlates of Beauty, by Hideaki Kawabata and Semir Zeki
01/01/2000 (Aprox)fMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert SolsofMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert Solso
01/01/1964 (Aprox)Andy Warhol's Brillo BoxAndy Warhol's Brillo Box
01/01/1989 (Aprox)The Power of Images, by David FreedbergThe Power of Images, by David Freedberg
01/01/2007 (Aprox)01/01/2009 (Aprox)David Freedberg's articles on neuroaesthetics
01/01/1992 (Aprox)Discovery of Mirror NeuronsDiscovery of Mirror Neurons
01/01/2015 (Aprox)Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, by Alva NöeOut of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, by Alva Nöe
01/01/1993 (Aprox)Andy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur DantoAndy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur Danto