An exhibition of portraits by Andy Warhol of the late First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, will be on view at Blain Di Donna in New York from April 10 – May 17, 2014. Bringing together over fifty paintings grouped in approximately twenty individual works, this exhibition will be the first to focus exclusively on this important body of work created fifty years ago, marking the formative period in the development of Warhol’s work, most notably the silkscreen technique, to produce serial imagery paintings based on images from magazines and newspapers. An art critic once labeled this series Warhol’s “Guernica”, referring to Picasso’s moving work about the tragedy that transformed his nation and the work that similarly deeply affected his career. The exhibition will illustrate Warhol’s career-long exploration of contemporary media culture, such as the news, serial imagery, celebrity and death.
Deeply affected by the media coverage of JFK’s assassination, Warhol began the Jackie series in February 1964, continuing the Death and Disaster theme of his first European exhibition with Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, in January of that year.
The exhibition begins with the paintings of Jacqueline Kennedy on the day of JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963, from the smiling Jackie arriving at Dallas Love Field, through the motorcade, to the administration of the oath for the new President Johnson on Air Force One, and finally, at the funeral, as she transforms from glamorous and iconic First Lady to grieving widow. Warhol cropped images taken from Life magazine and silkscreened them on to canvas. By cropping her face and repeating it, Warhol focused on Jackie’s grief and courage. The news was a unifying force during the President’s assassination as people repeatedly watched and read about the events of that week. Warhol gives us a reenactment of this tragic moment in America’s history through Mrs. Kennedy’s powerful image.
The Jackie paintings were produced as elements in a series that can be arranged in various permutations, such as grids, friezes, triptychs, diptychs or singles with mixed, repeated or inverted imagery. Warhol: Jackie will present several key examples of these combinations with loans from the Sonnabend Collection, The Andy Warhol Museum and important private collections.
Warhol: Jackie has been curated in close collaboration with Bibi Khan, former curator of the Andy Warhol Foundation; it will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Bob Colacello, writer, former Warhol associate, and an essay by Judith Goldman, writer, former Whitney Museum curator and noted Warhol expert.
Andy Warhol (1928–1987) was not only the leader of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, but perhaps the most influential American artist of the past century. He worked across a vast range of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, film, television and magazines and his work continues to move and inspire by its relevance, content and powerful imagery. Warhol’s work is the focus of several museum exhibitions this spring, including Warhol: Art, Fame, Mortality at The Dali Museum, Florida; To Jane, Love Andy: Warhol’s First Superstar at the Norton Museum of Art; Andy Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men at the Queens Art Museum and Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.