Holland Cotter rushes a blog post out to comment on Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills. The best part of the post is some straightforward art history:
The year Warhol made this work was a big for him. It was the year he decided to stop being a commercial artist and start being an art-artist, whatever that meant. Through the 1950s, he had built a successful New York career in advertising, with a specialty in illustrations of women’s shoes. He was thoroughly tuned in to what made the postwar American new-wealth appetite tick. And — this was crucial — he had absolutely no qualms about feeding that appetite, because it was his appetite, too. He loved glamour, money and brand-name whatever as much as the next guy. In fact, in many ways, he was the next guy, only with a bleach job and a fabulous eye.
By the early 1960s, he was the next guy in line to shape American art, or he wanted desperately to be. The big question was: how? how? how? He tried painting images from popular comic strips, but on learning that Roy Lichtenstein was already doing that, he stopped. He pestered friends for ideas. One of them, Henry Geldzahler, advised him to paint everyday blah buyable things, things that ordinary people want to have. Really? Like what kind of things? “You should paint pictures of money,” said another friend, Muriel Latow. So he did, along with Coke bottles and soup cans and movie stars.
Warhol’s Eye for the Bucks (ArtsBeat/New York Times)