The New Yorker
February 28, 2011
In 1981, Andy Warhol gave Berkeley Reinhold, the daughter of John Reinhold, his closest friend, a square book of drawings of dollar signs done on white paper. Last fall, as a way of sharing the gift—the original of which was too delicate to allow friends to handle—Reinhold published “Making Money,” a replica of Warhol’s original.
“To me it’s not a flipbook; it’s more of an evolution,” Reinhold told me over the phone last week. “The dollar sign is such a beautiful image, and in the book it starts off as sort of frail and disorganized and unrecognizable—you don’t know what it is—and then by the end it becomes this strong, confident figure that’s worth a lot.”
In the book’s introduction, Reinhold shares the experience of growing up in the New York art world of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. She recounts taking a taxi by herself to the Factory to have Warhol paint her portrait. She remembers being photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe the year before—“I was a little more dressed up than I would have liked to be due to my mom’s influence, which was, ‘You can’t show up in a white t-shirt and jeans to get photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe.’” She mentions the time she sent dollar bills to a handful of famous artists, asking them to do something artistic with the bill. “I just got their names and addresses from an art-directory book that my parents had,” she told me. “There’s one from Keith Haring, there’s a Lichtenstein (he donated the dollar to charity), and even a Carl Andre.” She also writes about the time she asked Andy to sign a Campbell’s soup can for her art teacher, saying, “Please give Berkeley an A.” (The teacher, though impressed, gave her a B.)
Reinhold’s book sheds light on Warhol the man, not just Warhol the artist. “He would call my father almost every day,” Reinhold said. “Every conversation started, ‘Hey Kiddo,’ and ended, ‘Is your Pops there?’ I can still hear him saying it.” Warhol played the part of a generous uncle, a sentiment that is not lost on Reinhold. “If you look in a lot of Andy’s auction catalogues, many pieces will say, ‘Gift from the artist,’” Reinhold said. “He and my dad would go out all the time, and often Dad would come home with things signed—a menu or an ashtray or something—and they would say, ‘To Berkeley, love Andy.’”
In the eighties, Reinhold’s family moved from their apartment at 101 Central Park West, and sent many of their things to storage. Last fall, after the signing for “Making Money” at the Gagosian, Reinhold went with her mom and dad to visit the storage facility. “There were tons of boxes and wrapped furniture everywhere,” she said. “The very first box that I opened, the very first thing that was on top, was a white, ceramic ashtray. And all over the ashtray, in black marker, were dollar signs and a message that said, ‘Camp it up, Love Andy.’” The ashtray was just one of many gifts from Andy to Reinhold, but, she said, “that it was the very first thing that I opened, like two days after the book signing—it was like Andy was saying, ‘Congratulations, Kiddo. You did a great job.’ There were tears in our eyes.”
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