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Richard H. Pettibone

American, b. 1938

Double Jackie

Screenprint on foil
13.25 x 16.25 x 1.75 in.
Gift of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation

Beginning in the mid-1960s, Richard Pettibone created his best-known works: small-scale silkscreened and painted versions of paintings by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and Frank Stella. Acknowledging that most of what we know about art stems from photographic reproductions, Pettibone copied the original paintings from photographs and made his works the actual sizes of Artforum magazine reproductions. In producing several hundred of these paintings, sometimes in multiple versions, Pettibone took pop art’s embrace of mass-produced consumer goods and media images to the next level, transforming pop paintings themselves into replicated commodities. If pop artists could copy newspaper ads, product logos, and comics for their paintings, Pettibone could copy their copies.

The uniqueness of Pettibone’s work stemmed from its diminutive size. With intuitive perversity, he reversed the blown-up scale of Lichtenstein’s paintings of comic book frames and Warhol’s paintings of soup cans, emulating how photography, and even vision itself, shrinks the world into digestible images. In Double Jackie (1968), Pettibone reproduced a double image used by Warhol in several silkscreened paintings appropriated from a newspaper photograph of the grieving First Lady. While Warhol’s paintings show only traces of the benday dots of the photoreproduction, Pettibone doesn’t hide them, making more obvious the newsprint source of the image. He also printed his silkscreen on foil paper, a reflective surface that suggests how tragic events like the Kennedy assassination mirror their times. The foil paper seems as well an oblique nod to Warhol’s 1966 Silver Clouds: floating, helium-filled pillows made of reflective Mylar that relate the pop artist’s vision to that of a narcissistic dream—or nightmare.

Michael Duncan

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