Human Interest
Audio Guide Playlist

Listen to commentary by artists and scholars on selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, including Thelma Golden, K8 Hardy, Byron Kim, Deana Lawson, and Joan Semmel.


Narrator: In this painting, Andy Warhol presents nine images of Jacqueline Kennedy in the moments leading up to and following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. In the top row, we see Jacqueline Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, just before the assassination. Notice the faint image of John F. Kennedy ‘s face at the edge of each frame. In the middle row, we see the First Lady during her husband’s funeral procession. And in the bottom row, Warhol presents a close-up of her grief-stricken face, taken from a photograph of Mrs. Kennedy standing next to Lyndon B. Johnson as he was sworn in aboard Air Force One. In this work, Warhol points out how the media turned Kennedy into a symbol of the grief of a nation.

Warhol took these images from newspaper photographs, which he cropped and then silkscreened onto canvas. By his deliberate repetition of the poignant images, Warhol poses an important question: When the media bombards us with repeated images of tragedy, does this make us relive and reenact these horrific events or does it gradually numb us to the pain? 

 

Jacqueline Kennedy herself recognized the importance of the media and used it brilliantly. To hear how, tap your screen.


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