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PRINT January 2004

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Shooting Kennedy

IN LATE 1960, a young artist named James Rosenquist juxtaposed a head shot lifted from a campaign poster with shards from glossy magazine ads for a packaged cake mix and a 1949 Chevy. Equating voters with consumers, Rosenquist called his painting President Elect. Thus, John F. Kennedy entered the White House already an object of marketable fantasy, America’s new First Trademark and icon-in-chief.

Art historian David M. Lubin’s Shooting Kennedy vastly elaborates the Rosenquist technique, allowing JFK—and consort Jacqueline—to hobnob with a promiscuous assortment of fellow images. Lubin locates photographs of the Kennedys and the Kennedy assassination among the movies and cultural artifacts of the 1950s and ’60s, further placing these images in the context of a visual culture reaching back to classical antiquity. Given the centrality of the JFK myth to America’s national narrative, the grandeur

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