Rosenquist's Painting 'F-111': An Analysis

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1. The message of Rosenquist's F-111 is distinctly anti-war, and the artist admits his motive in subsequent interviews like the explanation he offers for MOMA's multimedia web content (Rosenquist, n.d.). Using symbolism, irony, and satire, the artist creates a sort of immersion experience into the prevailing mindset of mainstream America as the Vietnam War was breaking out. The title of the painting refers to the fighter bomber currently in development when Rosenquist executed his epic work. One of the central themes of the F-111 installment is the unconscious collusion between consumers and military spending; the painting depicts normal everyday items like spaghetti and hair dryers alongside militaristic imagery. Rendering the everyday objects as they fuse with military items symbolizes the war propaganda, and how deceptive it can be. For example, propaganda disguises the real intention of government when they tax the people. Rosenquist also includes thinly disguised imagery of mushroom clouds, in the panel with the umbrella. 2. The overall feel of Rosenquist's F-111 is that of American pop art from the 1960s. However, there are several specific elements that make the composition uniquely American. For example, one of the panels has stenciling that clearly reads "U.S. Air Force." Another also shows an airplane, and one has a lightbulb; while not uniquely American these images are central to the American consumer society and its manufacturing base. The panel with the girl

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