“The presidency of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) marked a pivotal period in American history. Kennedy rose to political prominence following World War II as Americans were enjoying the first fruits of a consumer culture. Manufacturing muscle, fueled by the war, was turned to making cars and appliances, while battle-weary correspondents and photographers offered their talents to Madison Avenue and mass media publishing empires. Magazines brimming with glossy photographs flew off the newsstands, while televisions began beaming news and images directly into American homes.
This exhibition depicts a golden age of photojournalism in America—and no single politician was photographed more than JFK. Photographers and newsreel cameramen used images of Kennedy’s life and family to convey a vision of a new America—a sophisticated world power engaged in building a bright future for its citizens. Kennedy, in turn, understood the power of pictures to convey his message to voters and was a willing partner in crafting his public persona to help build support for the space program, the Peace Corps, legislation on civil rights and immigration, equal pay for women, and federal health insurance for the elderly—initiatives that would ensure a more diverse and egalitarian America.” — Introductory Wall Text
American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times is organized and curated by Lawrence Schiller of Wiener Schiller Productions and Marilyn Satin Kushner, curator and head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections at the New-York Historical Society.