BEFORE INDIANA WAS FAMOUS: PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIAM JOHN KENNEDY
Long Island native William John Kennedy received his education in fine art from Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute. In the 1950s he worked as an assistant and studio manager for American fashion photographer Clifford Coffin (1913-1972), a contemporary with Penn and Avedon and arguably the greatest of Vogue’s “lost” fashion photographers. A top freelance editorial photographer in New York City, Kennedy’s work appeared in world-renowned publications including LIFE Magazine and Sports Illustrated. In the commercial arena he created national and international campaigns for corporate clients including Avon, GE, IBM, RJR Nabisco, American Express, and Xerox. Kennedy has continued his passion for fine art photography throughout the years, developing a full body of work in the art form.
Shot in the early 1960s when he and his wife forged a friendship with Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, Kennedy’s recently published collection of images capture the two artists and their most iconic works at the rise of the Pop Art Movement. Kennedy’s extraordinary photographs — which lay in storage for nearly 50 years — reveal a story of the pivotal moments and players who shaped the course of American art in the second half of the 20th century, including James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Geldzahler, Dorothy Miller, Claes Oldenburg and Eleanor Ward. Kennedy’s rare and unique images offer a peek into the lives and work of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana at the seminal point in their careers.