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There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin

Anti-war installation 1964 by James Rosenquist: entitled "F-111" | MoMA

James Rosenquist provides his own commentary on the weapon made obsolete before its completion, intended as a "make-work" project for a war-profiteering middle class.

James Rosenquist. F-111. 1964-65. Oil on canvas with aluminum, 23 sections.

His version of the F-111 was displayed for many years in the lobby of Key Tower in Cleveland, Ohio. A note of interest would be that "F-111" was mentioned in a chapter of "Polaroids from the Dead" by Douglas Coupland.

Video courtesy Khan Academy January 25-July 30, 2012. Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide.

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Comment by Tony Nuspl on April 4, 2017 at 2:15pm

More voiceover from the artist, perhaps more insightful this time:

https://youtu.be/14HFM3sucRE?t=29s

The painting in question, Rosenquist’s most famous, is the 86ft-long F-111, a sequence of 23 panels named for a US military jet and a gallery-wrapping critique of the military-industrial complex and the American public’s complicity with it.

The angel’s food cake in the painting was “a metaphor for a missile silo”, he said, adding: “I thought of this plane going through all this flak, of household items, lightbulbs in particular, imagery of things during peacetime.

“The little girl with blonde hair under a hairdryer is the pilot of this bomber, an aviatrix, and then on to a rendering of a hydrogen bomb in a red grisaille with an umbrella over it … like a view from a resort on to a nuclear bomb.”

The painting, Hughes said, “summed up Rosenquist’s vision of America as an Eden compromised by its own violence”.

Speaking in his 1997 TV history of American art, American Visions, the Australian critic Robert Hughes said: “Generally there’s no politics in Rosenquist’s fantasies of desire, but in 1965 he produced an exception to that, an enormous panorama about Vietnam.”

Writing in Time magazine in 2001, about an exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York, Hughes said that though F-111 “may not be, as has sometimes been claimed, the Guernica of the 60s … it affected people in a way few works of political art had done since the murals of Diego Rivera in the 1930s.

“It suited its time, just as Rosenquist’s lusher paintings of the 80s, with their candied colors and peculiarly deceitful overlays of motif – the sumptuous presentation of dying fetishes of American culture, like the space program – suit theirs.

“Rosenquist, in short, is one of the few former pop artists whose work continues unabatedly to have something to say, however elliptic the mode of saying it turns out to be.”

"James Rosenquist, pop artist who painted the famous F-111, dies aged 83"

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/01/james-rosenqui...

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