By Sasha Levine, April 09, 2014
There’s no shortage of recognizable works by Andy Warhol in this world, whether in exhibitions (the recent show at Florida’s Dalí Museum) or on branded consumer goods (Perrier’s limited-edition bottle). But for the first time ever, Blain|Di Donna gallery has dedicated an exhibition entirely to Warhol’s “Jackie” (opening April 10), marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination with more than 50 works that tell the story of that emotional week in 1963 vis-à-vis the evolving appearance of Jacqueline Kennedy.
The show highlights a curated selection of silkscreened canvases, each 20 inches by 16 inches and arranged into “Multiple Jackies” or into larger compositions of individual works displayed as triptychs, grids and friezes. All derived from eight magazine photographs, the pieces follow Jacqueline Kennedy, from her cheerful arrival in Dallas to the day of the funeral.
“The Jackie paintings are an extremely important body of work from the 1960s,” says gallerist Emmanuel Di Donna. On the one hand, he explains, they represent the first fine-art portraits to resemble newspaper images; on the other, they demonstrate Warhol’s fascination with contemporary media culture, celebrity, glamour and death.
“Those images of Jackie stem from a cataclysmic event in American history,” he explains, “which was for the first time experienced on a global scale through the media. Warhol was giving the word ‘icon’ its most modern meaning—an image, a painting of a holy being to be revered.”