Title: Flash 39 – November 22, 1963 (FS II.39)
Medium: Portfolio of eleven screenprints, colophon, and Teletype text on paper
Size: 21” x 21”
Edition: 22, 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.
Andy Warhol’s Flash 39 is part of a portfolio of eleven different screenprints, all were combinations of images found in mass media about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 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 39 is somewhat different than the others in the series because it features a single image of the building from which JFK was shot with a simple arrow pointing at the window where Lee Harvey Oswald shot from. The purple image is one of the more simple images in the series but delivers a very simple and direct message.
Flash 39 AS PART OF ANDY WARHOL’S LARGER BODY OF WORK
Warhol had somewhat of an obsession with the Kennedy assassination, especially the media representation of it, and this ended up being a source of creative output for Warhol throughout the 1960s. Warhol continued to use images from the media in his work while using the layering technique more and more to add depth to his images. Flash 39 demonstrates a clear statement about his feelings towards the media and how the American people react. Warhol is beginning to observe American society including its relationship with the media and its obsession with tragedy, which he continues to return to in later works. He continues to take on mass media in his work by challenging the norms and making people think differently about how they look at the information they are given. With this portfolio, Warhol revisits a subject he has already looked at with the Jacqueline Kennedy prints. However, this time Warhol is focusing on the man himself.