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Andy Warhol Dollar Sign
Exhibit #2834
TypeSpecial Release
ShapeStandard (-)
AxleFixed
ColorSilver metallic
PackagingNone
ConstructionThree piece wood
ResponseNone
GapFixed
Condition9
Date1995
To1996
OwnerRick Brough
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An oversized metallic silver wooden yo-yo with a black shoe string for the yo-yo string (original to this model of yo-yo).

Produced in the mid 1990s by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. The "Dollar Sign" yo-yo was a release in similar vain to the yo-yos made by the French toy manufacturer Vilac on behalf of the Keith Haring foundation. Unfortunately, very little is known about this particular yo-yo such as who made it, what type of wood it is made from, how many were made, or where it was originally sold, and for how much. The Associate Director of Licensing at the foundation was not familiar with the yo-yo. He said that in 1995 the foundation's licensing activities were passive; they were facilitated through various other agencies on behalf of the foundation. This yo-yo falls into that passive licensing time period.

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Andy Warhol, Yo-Yos, and Dollar Signs

According to Joseph Groell, a former roommate with Andy Warhol in 1950, he remembered Warhol adopting a novel approach when phoning art directors for work. Groell heard Warhol begin his telephone conversations with "Hello, I'm just sitting on my bed here, playing with my yo-yo," and joking with potential employers before asking for [art] commissions. Source: http://www.warholstars.org/warhol1/2trumancapote.html. Last accessed March 25, 2017.

During his life, Warhol openly acknowledge that he loved money (having come from a poor family in industrial Pittsburgh). He also loved drawing and painting it as well. In the early 1960s he depicted one-dollar bills and then in 1981 he returned to the imagery and completed an entire series of drawings and paintings of the dollar sign. The dollar sign imprint on the yo-yo in this exhibit is based on a marker pen and ink drawing that Warhol himself had made. The incompleteness of the black paint on portions of the dollar sign is typical for this model. It reflects the artist's original design, not poorly applied paint.

The following is from the website http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/andy-warhol-art-money last accessed March 25, 2017:

"How Andy Warhol made art from money
4 November 2014

Curator Darren Pih takes a close look at one of the key artworks in Tate Liverpool's exhibition Transmitting Andy Warhol

In his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, the artist declared, ‘Money is the MOMENT to me. Money is my MOOD.’ Simultaneously reinventing and amplifying the symbol of American currency as pop art, Warhol’s Dollar Sign 1982 encapsulates one of the key artistic themes that sustained his practice throughout his career, invoking ideas of aspiration and wealth while conflating banality with the glamour of commodity culture.

At the beginning of the pop era in 1961, Warhol created works depicting the one-dollar bill. Twenty years later, against a different cultural and economic context, he would return to this theme in his Dollar Signs series, exhibited for the first time in January 1982 at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.

Dollar Sign reflects the glamorous convergence of New York art and pop culture at this time, where the idea of appropriating and repeating ready-made material found expression in pop culture, notably through the use of sampling in hip-hop music. Warhol’s Dollar Sign emblematises this zeitgeist, characterised by the fluid cultural exchanges between high art and mass culture, explosions in new wealth, new processes of mass mediation and the synthesis of art, money and celebrity. Warhol regarded the public sphere as a network providing life support for his images and ideas.

His commitment to infiltrating all areas of media in order to reach the widest possible audience was reiterated in the February 1982 issue of Artforum, in which the Dollar Signs series appeared as a gatefold commission."
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Side A, large
Side B, large
Shoe string

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