Andy Warhol’s first exhibit of Pop Art images was in the windows of Bonwit Teller in 1961 and the most recent is in just as unexpected a place: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza here.
The Sixth Floor, a popular tourist destination, chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the same space where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly made his sniper’s nest. One floor above, the museum has mounted “Warhol & Jackie: Artist and Icon,” a look at the artist and his fascination with the glamorous late first lady.
“The work Warhol did with Jackie is prominent and important, so we thought it would be a great show to do,” said Jeff West, executive director of the museum.
Running through Oct. 26, “Warhol & Jackie” opens with massive photos of scenes from Warhol’s loft, The Factory, and quirky memorabilia, such as his black-leather Beatle boots. But its focal point is the artist’s reaction to the assassination.
His “Flash — November 22, 1963” tells the story through a stream of news wire-type text paired with 11 screen prints of images from the assassination. An eerie soundtrack created for the show features a monotone voice reading the text in the style of a Byzantine Catholic chant, a reference to Warhol’s religion. Warhol created 236 copies of the “Flash” portfolio, which is rarely displayed in its entirety.
The show also features silkscreen paintings that Warhol produced using photographs of Jackie Kennedy taken during the week of the assassination. The series begins with Jackie’s broad smile as she and the president arrive in Dallas and continues with six images of the grieving widow.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is located at 411 Elm Street. Tel: (214) 747-6660.