Flash 42 by Andy Warhol 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 42 features an inverted image of President Kennedy’s campaign posters in red and blue. There are two images of John F. Kennedy’s portrait layered in this print, with the smiling face that is easily recognizable.
Flash 42 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Warhol continued to use images from the media in his work while using the layering technique more to add depth to his images. Flash 42 demonstrates a clear statement about his feelings towards the media and how the American people react. Warhol is observing 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. Warhol was quoted in saying that “what bothered me was the way television and radio were programming everybody to feel so sad. It seemed like no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t get away from the thing.” 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.