For his major 1971 retrospective, Andy Warhol plastered the entire fourth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York with Cow wallpaper. On top of the wallpaper, he hung his signature silkscreened paintings of pop culture icons, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Unlike the images on most wallpaper, however, the giant neon portrait of the cow didn’t fade into the background as mere decor. Such an overwhelming installation, which made it difficult for the viewer to distinguish the artwork from the wallpaper, was precisely the effect Warhol desired. He commented on the installation, “We fixed it like this so people could catch the show in a minute and leave. It’s old-fashioned. It really is. Now that you’ve seen it, let’s go across the street to Schrafft’s [a candy store].” Written for the Materialities of Modern Art seminar at the University of Chicago, winter 2011.