James Rosenquist began to paint the 86-foot-long F-111 in 1964, in the middle of one of this country’s most turbulent decades. Rosenquist took as his subject the F-111 fighter bomber plane, the newest, most technologically advanced weapon in development at the time, and positioned it, as he later explained, “flying through the flak of consumer society to question the collusion between the Vietnam death machine, consumerism, the media, and advertising.” Its jumps of scale, collage-like juxtaposition of fragments of imagery, and gloriously vivid palette exemplify the style that defines Rosenquist’s singular contribution to Pop art in the United States.
James Rosenquist is an American seer. He was one of the first American artists who saw through bubble gum filters of media and the cost of imperialism. F-111 is an important piece coming out of our culture. Right now it is on display at MOMA and I am so glad I had a chance to see it. The pics here are bits and pieces of the artwork itself for the F-111 is huge painting spanning 86’ (2621.3 cm) across.