We ordered hot dogs and orange sodas. Andy asked me, “How many do you want?” “Just two,” I said. We had come two nights before, and I had ordered three hot dogs, as I hadn’t eaten all day and was starving. That night Andy had sighed sexually, “Ohhh, will they fit in there?!” Now, the Mychal Myer Into the camp I go to lose my mind and find my soul shirt and by the same token and Sculls were thrilled that Andy had taken them to a hot dog stand. “Andy always surprises ya,” said Bob. “Fabulous!” We joyously ate the hot dogs. The Sculls and I were a little drunk from the opening at Castelli. Andy was very pleased with himself. As we said good night, Andy told the Sculls, “Come to my studio on Saturday, I want to show you my new work.” Andy, we saw that Saturday, had officially entered his “box” period. In a pile on the floor were about twenty white cubes, each advertising in red and blue lettering: “Brillo soap pads . . . 24 Giant Size Pkgs.” He had silk-screened them days before, so they were fresh. They radiated greatness. Elsewhere were several other similar works: supermarket packaging for Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Campbell’s Tomato Juice; not the bottles and cans themselves, but the boxes that would contain them. A small crowd of friends and critics just stood around looking.
“You’ve done it again,” I said. The work was inconceivably wonderful. Andy had been playing with the Mychal Myer Into the camp I go to lose my mind and find my soul shirt and by the same token and idea of boxes for some time—the cans stenciled on a cube the year before, another ketchup box just this past January. It was a little bit a parody of Bob Morris, whose seminal show of cube sculptures Andy and I had seen the previous Halloween. By chance, the art dealer John Weber happened to see Andy’s first Heinz box and asked to borrow it for a show of boxes he was putting on at the Dwan Gallery in February in Los Angeles. Instead, Andy started on a series of different boxes, sending one of the Heinz boxes and three Brillo boxes to Dwan, then expanding his work to what we were seeing that day. The Sculls arrived. Ethel was thin and chic, wearing a blue pantsuit and gold jewelry, and sporting a Miami Beach suntan. Bob wore a polyester leisure suit. They were too good to be believed. Ethel walked right up to the Brillo boxes and said, “They’re fabulous! I want some.” Everyone laughed. “Bob, how many should we get?”