Flash 33 (November 22, 1963 Portfolio)

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Title: Flash- November 22, 1963 (FS II.33)
Medium: Portfolio of eleven screenprints, colophon, and Teletype text on paper
Year: 1968
Size: 21” x 21”
Edition: 200, 26 numbered in Roman numerals; 10 lettered A-J have three additional screenprints, each of which is a composite of images from II.33 and II.38. (See II.43A-43C.) Each print, housed in a folder with a page of Teletype text, is signed in ball-point pen on verso; the colophon is signed and numbered in ball-point pen.

Flash 33

Andy Warhol’s Flash 33 is part of a portfolio of eleven different screenprints based on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The piece was named for all the “news flash” texts that were being broadcast at the time. All of the prints were based on campaign posters, mass-media photographs, and advertisements. The prints were presented next to Teletype text taken straight from news sources. The title Flash – November 22, 1963 represents the date of the assassination and the constant news attention about the event. Flash 33 presents a somber image in different tones of gray, which features the presidential seal a number of times. It is shown once prominently in white in the background and then three more times in reverse across the center. Also depicted are bullet holes through the seal, which is another representation of the tragedy that had occurred. This act of layering images becomes very common in Warhol’s work.

Flash 33 AS PART OF ANDY WARHOL’S LARGER BODY OF WORK

This body of work has a clear connection to the work Warhol did focusing on Jacqueline Kennedy, however now he is focusing on the man himself and the events surrounding his assassination. Warhol’s Flash 33 is an important part of the Flash series because it focuses on the representation of the Presidential Seal, which is the President himself. Warhol’s Flash 33 discusses an important idea that explores symbols as representations. When a symbol is used to represent something, it brings to the representation its own connotations. When these connotations are transferred, the connotation of what is being symbolized changes.

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