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Press Room


16th Annual Eldredge Prize Awarded to David M. Lubin for His Exploration of Popular Images of John F. Kennedy

Media only: Laura Baptiste (202) 275-1595

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2004 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of art at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. His recent book, Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images (University of California Press, 2003), is recognized for its exploration of the iconic images of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his family from 1953 to 1963 that permeated American popular culture.

"This book blends dazzling style with hefty intellectual substance in its wide-ranging examination of visual and popular culture during the heady post-war era when John Fitzgerald Kennedy achieved political power, celebrity status and mythic martyrdom," the Eldredge Prize jurors wrote in their decision. "Lubin examines iconic Kennedy images … along with news photography, tabloid photography, film noir, cinema vérité, early television sitcoms, advertising images, color field painting and monuments of classical and neoclassical art to show how inextricably they all are bound up in our visual unconscious, and how powerfully they have shaped perception and memory in our time."

The three jurors who awarded the $2,000 prize were: Sarah Burns, Ruth N. Halls Professor of history of art at Indiana University; Wanda M. Corn, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in art history at Stanford University; and Barbara Haskell, curator of early 20th-century art at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

"David Lubin's new book, Shooting Kennedy, is a fascinating study of both high and low American visual culture in the 1950s and 1960s," said Elizabeth Broun, the museum's Margaret and Terry Stent Director.

Lubin received a doctorate in American studies from Yale University in 1983. As the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of art at Wake Forest University, he teaches courses in the history of American art, culture and film. Lubin has received a Getty Research Institute postdoctoral fellowship (1989), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship (1990) and most recently received a John Adams Fellowship at the University of London (1997). Lubin has written several books, including Titanic (British Film Institute, 1999), Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America (Yale University Press, 1994) and Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James (Yale University Press, 1985).

The Charles C. Eldredge Prize, named in honor of the former director of the museum (1982–1988), is sponsored by the American Art Forum, a patrons' support organization. This annual award, initiated in 1989, seeks to recognize originality and thoroughness of research, excellence of writing and clarity of method. Single-author, book-length publications in the field of American art history appearing within the three previous calendar years are eligible. It is especially meant to honor those authors who deepen or focus debates in the field or who broaden the discipline by reaching beyond traditional boundaries. December 1st is the deadline for 2005 nominations.

Recent Eldredge Prize recipients include:

• 2003: Richard Meyer, Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art (Oxford University Press, 2002)

• 2002: Anthony W. Lee, Picturing Chinatown: Art and Orientalism in San Francisco (University of California Press, 2001)

• 2001: Jodi Hauptman, Joseph Cornell: Stargazing in the Cinema (Yale University Press, 1999)

Further information about the Eldredge Prize and a complete list of past winners is available on the museum's Web site at

The museum's research programs include fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral scholars, extensive photographic collections documenting American art and artists, and unparalleled art research databases. An active publications program of books, catalogs and the journal American Art complements the museum's exhibitions and educational programs.

Eldredge Prize Lecture

On Thursday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m., David Lubin will present the annual Eldredge Prize lecture, titled "Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture," in the Grand Salon at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A reception follows the event. The lecture is free and open to the public but reservations are required; email AmericanArtprograms[at]

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 40,000 artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries.

While the renovation of the museum's historic building continues, American Art offers a full program of exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery. The Renwick is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W., near the Farragut North (Red line) and Farragut West (Blue and Orange lines) Metrorail stations. Museum hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000; (202) 357-1729 (TTY). Recorded information: (202) 275-1500. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at