Warhol created his Flash portfolio in 1968 to depict the continuing media spectacle surrounding President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The portfolio contains eleven screenprints based on campaign posters, mass-media photographs, and advertisements and the portfolio cover reproduces the front page of the New York World Telegram from the day of Kennedy's assassination. Each screenprint is accompanied by Teletype reports selected by Phillip Greer that provide a direct media narrative for Warhol's images. The sequence of the portfolio and its relation to the Teletype text is unknown. Warhol's use of text underlines the notion that our collective understanding of the images is a result of a media construction and not our own personal emotional response.
The collective obsession with the Kennedy assassination was a source of constant creative output for Warhol in the 1960's. The potent combination of celebrity and tragedy fascinated Warhol: "When President Kennedy was shot that fall, I heard the news over the radio while I was alone painting in my studio. I don't think I missed a stroke. I wanted to know what was going on out there, but that was the extent of my reaction I'd been thrilled about having Kennedy as president; he was handsome, young, smart-but it didn't bother me that much that he was dead. What bothered me was the way television and radio were programming everybody to feel so sad. It seemed like no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't get away from the thing."