November 26 Nineteen Hundred Sixty Three: ‘We know ourselves, the bearers of the light of the earth he is given to, and of the light of all his lost days’

warhol jackyFrom the exhibition Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through January 26: Andy Warhol, “Nine Jackies,” 1964. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, president. © 2019 the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

by Wendell Berry
Copyright 1963 Wendell Berry

First published on November 26, 1963, by the Nation. Published in book form shortly afterwards by George Braziller, New York, with lettering and illustrations by Ben Shahn, who also penned the introduction, which said in part: “In so sharply scrutinizing his own feelings, the poet has discovered with an uncanny exactness all our feelings. His words have created a certain monument, not pretentious, but real, and shared.” Today’s republication dedicated to Bill Wedemeyer…. and to Breathless.  To see art by Ben Shahn, read Paul Ben-Itzak‘s memoir associated with this event — and learn who Breathless is — click here.

We know
the winter earth
upon the body
of the young
president,
and the early dark
falling;

We know
the veins
grown quiet
in his temples and
wrists, and his hands
and eyes
grown quiet;

We know
his name written
in the black capitals
of his death,
and the mourners
standing in the rain,
and the leaves falling;

We know
his death’s horses
and drums;
the roses, bells,
candles, crosses;
the faces
hidden in veils;

We know
the children
who begin
the youth of loss
greater than
they can dream
now;

We know
the nightlong coming
of faces
into the candle-
light
before his coffin,
and their passing;

We know
the mouth of the grave
waiting,
the bugle and rifles,
the mourners
turning
away;

We know
the young dead body
carried
in the earth
into the first
deep night
of its absence;

We know
our streets and days
slowly opening
into the time
he is not alive,
filling with
our footsteps
and voices;

We know
ourselves,
the bearers
of the light
of the earth
he is given to,
and of the light of
all his lost days;

We know
the long approach
of summers toward the
healed ground
where he will be
waiting,
no longer the keeper
of what he was.

Ali by Warhol: The Greatest by the Popist

ali by warholFrom the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, opening October 20: Andy Warhol, “Muhammad Ali,” 1977. University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park; gift of the Frederick Weisman Company. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. “Muhammad Ali™”; Rights of Publicity and Persona Rights: ABG Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC.

1961: Warhol meets Superman in a helluva year

warhol superman smallFrom the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, opening October 20: Andy Warhol, “Superman,” 1961. Private collection. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Superman © and ™ DC Comics, courtesy DC Comics. All rights reserved.

November 22, 1963: A hero falls; a heroine emerges; an artist pays homage

warhol 12 jackiesAmong the cornucopia of work on view at the Art Institute of Chicago for its ongoing exhibition The New Contemporary is, above: Andy Warhol. “Twelve Jackies,” 1964. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. John F. Kennedy was assassinated 55 years ago Thursday, revealing a nation’s dark soul — and a First Lady’s courage to help it see some light.

Warhol’s “Little Race Riot” in Chicago

chicagowarhol race riots

Among the work on view at the Art Institute of Chicago’s ongoing exhibition The New Contemporary is, above: Andy Warhol, “Little Race Riot,” 1964. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. As testament to the work’s persistant relevance, last week at a bar in a Chicago suburb, a police officer allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old African-American security guard Jemel Roberson as he was attempting to restrain a customer who had fired shots.

Warhol re-mixes the Mona Lisa

Andy Warhol Mona-Lisa-Four-Times_1978 smallAmong the 44 paintings, sculptures, and photographs recently donated by local collectors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson to —  and now on view at — the Art Institute of Chicago is, above: Andy Warhol’s “Mona Lisa Four Times,” 1978. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © 2015 the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.