Collections at IU Art Museum, Lilly Library honor President Kennedy

Newman photo

Arnold Newman; American, 1918–2006; John F. Kennedy, 1964; Gelatin silver print.

The IU Art Museum will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with a special “pop-up” exhibition from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday in the museum’s viewing room.

The small exhibition will include a portrait taken by Arnold Newman shortly after the president’s inauguration; two prints made by Andy Warhol as memorials to the fallen president; and a 1976 print by Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts Rudy Pozzatti titled “Mr. President,” featuring JFK and the other three presidents who were assassinated while in office, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley.

I personally love the Newman portrait — it’s a wonderful portrayal of the movie-star-handsome president in front of the White House, forehead wrinkled with suitable gravitas, the Oval Office windows placed immediately above his head, giving a sense of the institutional weight falling on the shoulders of the nation’s new young leader. The Warhol shown here is, as expected, much more abstract; it features a large presidential seal riddled with bullet holes, a hand pointing a rifle and an image of Jackie riding alongside JFK just before he was shot.

miniature JFK book

The Lilly Library’s miniature copy of Kennedy’s inaugural address (1965), shot with a Kennedy half dollar for size comparison.

No registration is required for the exhibition, but space is limited. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. And if you miss it, members of the public can request to see the works any time by contacting the IU Art Museum for a print room viewing.

The Lilly Library, IU Bloomington’s repository for rare books, manuscripts and special collections, also has a few items in its collection related to JFK that might draw some interest.

That includes two of the thousands of miniature books in the library’s collection that would seem to bookend JFK’s presidency — one is titled the “Inaugural Address of John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” the other, “A John F. Kennedy Memorial Miniature.”

The Lilly also owns a first edition of “Profiles in Courage,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of senatorial biographies for which Kennedy is credited as author.

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