JFK in “64” & Something Real, Authentic, True

Known for his unique use and exploration of text in his recent prints and paintings, Norsten just completed the prints Something Real, Authentic, True and JFK in ’64 at HP Editions this summer. Something Real, Authentic, True is the third in a series of trompe l'oeil prints depicting tape on paper expressing his notorious humor which verges on the sardonic and a transgressive approach to art making. It depicts a 'word drawing' in transparent (Scotch) tape with all the unwanted bits of lint, dust and finger prints included. The artist used actual lint, fibers and dust from the studio floor to make one lithographic drawing, and his own fingers for the lithographic finger print drawing. To further poke fun at 'high art' the artist had the prints printed on the back of the expensive French paper and cut each one using a template so they are ever so slightly out of square.

The print JFK in ’64 references an image of a campaign poster captured in No Direction Home, the Bob Dylan documentary by Martin Scorsese. Norsten found the poster in the footage to be a subtle yet poignant reminder of the loss of American innocence after JFK’s assassination in 1963; the artist noted “the phrase JFK in ‘64 made me think about how history was abruptly interrupted and about what could have been had things gone differently.”

The political poster image is a key part of the lexicon of the 1960’s. Its straightforward yet potent message has become a powerful iconic touchstone of that time, one that still resonates with fascination, portent and longing. To stay true to the concept, the print has been produced on 2-ply museum board with seven layers of gloss and one layer of green ink to echo the look and feel of a poster printed at that time.