JFK panel

Art in New York - JFK screen

In 1964 I was working in the art department on the seventh floor of a church art business in NYC. Four of us shared the same room. We listened to the radio - mostly rock and roll music. Suddenly, drastic news hit us. John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States, had been shot. Shocked, we stopped to hear the news. The radio would go on with regular programming of music, punctuated by the news of JFK's assassination. We'd work to the music and stop for the news. My whole perception of the unfolding of this terrible event was wrapped in rhythms and textures of sound.

I can't remember how I got the images for the funeral procession. I had no television. But the somber pageant greatly impressed me. The white horses with stiff riders drawing the coffin rolling on its cart with large wheels. And especially the dark horse, which was riderless as a tribute to the military man who would not ride again. It was so deeply tragic, beyond understanding, and yet rock and roll would never die, enlivening our memories.

I decided to paint a screen to fit on the wall of my living room/studio. I divided it into four panels, each about 84 inches high by 36 inches wide, making a screen 7 feet high by 12 feet wide. The painting can be hung flat on a wall or hinged to stand alone as a screen. The paint ranges from the thinnest wash, through transparent layers, to thick impasto squeezed directly from the tube.

The visual elements of the story are suspended in the colorful abstract rocks and rolls in flowing rhythms. The dark horse, for me the enduring spirit of JFK, is woven into the interstices of the surge of horsemen, facing and meeting his fate with us and the planes and gravestones and birds and earth, always sprouting new green shoots of life in renewal.

Click the image for a larger version (256 KB) or choose a very large version (910 KB). Alternatively, see each panel on a separate page; from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4. Back to New York Art page.

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© 2006 Caroling. All rights reserved. Page created: 2006-09-07. Last modified: 2006-09-07