ArtTracker| Anticipating keen interest in Andy Warhol’s 1962 soda bottle, “Coca-Cola  [Large Coca-Cola]”, Sotheby’s served mini glass bottles of soda pop, hosted from silver trays, trying to create fizz, not fizzle, around their star offering in pop art.
The champagne flowed, when Coke delivered the big-O at $35.3 million, and not the estimated $25 million.
WSJ makes a solid argument that art buyers like the ‘cheery colors’ and ‘reassuringly familiar’ objects, rather than the edge unknown. What could be more reassuring than a bottle of Coke?
In fact, life isn’t so uncomplicated. Coke comes up in strongly negative terms with increasing frequently. $100,000 TED prize winner photograffeur JR insisted that his acceptance of the award not involve corporate interests like Coke’s.
Nicholas Kristof has inspired growing questions around the role of companys like Coke in perpetuating global poverty. Campaigns are brewing to convince moms to educate their kids or buy a computer, rather than feed them Coke, which can be 10% of the family income.
A growing argument in developing countries if to help poor countries by selling them cheap stuff they really need, thereby creating jobs, Tata Groups new water purifier is an excellent example. How does Coke justify marketing to families to buy Coke, rather than a water purifier giving poor people access to clean water for drinking and bathing?
Environmentally, Coke is under assault, although the company is aggressively improving its sustainability practices, reducing its carbon footprint by 11.5 percent from 2007. Coke’s new PlantBottle is a fully recyclable PET bottle made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30 percent of plant-based materials.
The strategic national — if not the people’s — concern over increasingly young onset of diabetes in teenagers suggests that many schools will be banning soda in the future. However, this move comes at a time when funding for schools is being cut, and Pepsi is ‘at war’ with Coke, offering increasingly larger contracts to schools for making their soda the official brand.
Symbolically, whatever happens to Coke Futures, the Andy Warhol “Coca-Cola  [Large Coca-Cola]” will own piece of iconic art that is deeply symbolic of America’s past and its future.
To Diet Coke or Not: The Beverage Wars Take Shape (good discussion of The Moderns and The Cultural Creatives