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Robert Kennedy 19251968
 
For its May 24, 1968, cover, Time magazine featured presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, who was sweeping Democratic state primaries, attracting crowds of supporters with his antiwar stance and support of racial equality. The cover artist, Roy Lichtenstein, transformed a standard campaign photograph into eye-catching pop statement about fame and the media. Although he rarely chose real people as subjects, he was intrigued by Kennedy's "lively, upstart quality and pop-heroic proportions as part of a legend." Lichtenstein's adaption of comic-book or advertising idioms for his art added a fresh look and irreverent tone to figural art.

In this image, which is the key drawing for the color separations used to produce the final cover image, Lichtenstein portrayed Kennedy as the people's champion of truth and justice. The candidate, in reality often haggard on the campaign trail, appears cartoon-perfect. In June, Time published a second Lichtenstein cover. Issued just two weeks after Kennedy's assassination, the new cover made the viewer look down the barrel of a smoking gun.

Roy Lichtenstein (19231997)
Felt-tip markers over graphite on mat board, 1968
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
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