Tumbling Woman
September 18, 2002 8:23 PM   Subscribe

Tumbling Woman A statue of a falling woman designed as a memorial to those who jumped or fell to their death from the World Trade Center was abruptly draped in cloth and curtained off Wednesday because of complaints that it was too disturbing. It's all right if you don't want to discuss it here and now. I was also in NYC and saw the towers on that day.
posted by neu (69 comments total)
I was at Rockefeller Center yesterday and they had this big tent set up outside the GE building for a September 11th display. I didn't go down the concourse levels so I didn't see this particular statue. I also saw the Reuters building which has a huge picture in a window of people standing in between the beams pressed against the windows of one of the towers. So when I compare the statue with that picture, I think the statue is a better approach, marginally better but better.
posted by riffola at 8:39 PM on September 18, 2002

I suppose the first question that comes to mind is: why nude? And others: why female? More worthy of sympathy? A man falling to his death is no less worthy of sympathy, but...nude? A memorial is supposed to move people, to recall something awful, or noble, or triumphant, but with the sense that some participated, others were spectators, but humanity in general is touched.

Two beams of light was a far better idea. What fell may somehow also rise.

I can see the snarky comments coming...
posted by datawrangler at 8:39 PM on September 18, 2002

Imminent death = total exposure? Reduction to basic humanity?
posted by mblandi at 8:52 PM on September 18, 2002

What's to complain about? I quite like it actually. There's a certain grace to it that doesn't offend me at all. It's only one of the multitudes of ways people are expressing themselves about the event. Would we be doing the event any justice by throwing up another Firefighter Draped in Flag statue?

Perhaps the artist was touched deeply by the people who 'chose' to jump dozens of stories to their deaths... and saw some beauty in it.

It's a shame they're taking it down. This is typical overly-sensitive simpletons ruining it for everyone else.

why nude?

It's art. People are nude in art.
posted by Witty at 8:55 PM on September 18, 2002

Why nude? I'm certainly not the artist, but I could see how its supposed to evoke how the attacks stripped the victims down to raw humanity... for the first time in years, it didn't matter if you were a lawyer or mailman or teacher, how much money you had, how attractive you were. Society and civilization were briefly ripped away.

I actually like it, but might agree that it shouldn't be displayed in the streets.
posted by gsteff at 8:58 PM on September 18, 2002

Why female? Because it had to be either male or female. Why nude? To signify vulnerability and helplessness, and possibly the end of life. "Naked I came into the world and naked I shall return." In his book on the nude in art, Kenneth Clark has an entire chapter titled 'Pathos', about how the nude is used to denote that feeling.

The bizarre, contorted limbs and rough modeling of the body have a strong flavor of Rodin, like a figure from the 'Gates of Hell'. I like it. It's moving, and horrifying. It evokes emotions in the viewer appropriate to the horrible event it signifies.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:02 PM on September 18, 2002

gsteff, it was displayed in the concourse level of the Rockerfeller Center.
posted by riffola at 9:03 PM on September 18, 2002

I have no opinion.

I don't mean that in a snarky "*yawn*" kind of way, I mean that as a piece of art it fails to elicit any emotion in me whatsoever.

Maybe it's different seeing it close-up and in person.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:03 PM on September 18, 2002

Great art comes out of times like these. Anything less than close to home and powerful would be a waste.
posted by Witty at 9:04 PM on September 18, 2002

And nude because nudity is timeless. Clothed figures inevitably look dated.

The statue is a good work. It's a shame that self-cocooning people, afraid to challenge their emotions, have succeeded in having it removed.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 PM on September 18, 2002

I certainly believe in people's right to like or dislike the work.

But I take strong exception to the man who said it "was not art". It most certainly is art. Sometimes art makes you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes art makes you think. Sometimes art causes you to have an emotional reaction.

Datawrangler: (100% snarkyless) Why the nude form? Well, from a practical standpoint the nude form is one of the most common subjects in fine art throughout the last several centuries. I'm not even sure how someone would raise the issue. Just like the statues of Lady Justice that Ashcroft has to have curtained because he's embarrassed by breasts.

[editorial] Doesn't he realize they're pointing at him when they say "boob!"? [/editorial]

And you could fill an evening with the metaphorical discussions about the figure being nude. The sanctity and safety of our garments being stripped away just as our peace of mind and innate sense of security were. Perhaps the victims clothes were burned away, like the girl in the famous Napalm bombing picture from Vietnam. I'm sure the motivated can come up with volumes more. (on preview I see they already are)

Why female? Well... if he was choosing to do only one person then he had to specify a gender. If it had been a man you know the exact same amount of time would have elapsed before someone said "Why a male". Again, I'm not even sure why one would raise the issue.

But datawrangler I'm also a big fan of the two shafts of light memorial. I'm sure with some planning some clever scientists could think of a more efficient way to make it a permanent installation and I'm also sure there are more than a couple of wealthy benefactors that would be happy to underwrite the cost.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:06 PM on September 18, 2002

Why nude? Because if the piece is to have any chance of becoming timeless you don't want people in 15 years saying "my, they sure dressed funny back then."

Much like we would do if this statue were from 1983 and the woman was wearing leg warmers.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:09 PM on September 18, 2002

Also, clothes in motion are particularly difficult to sculpt...especially if you're going for the impression of tumbling or falling, in which case the clothes would obscure the figure.

Female, I think, because it's more evocative...and doesn't have a penis...which tends to get a whole other set of people all worked up...when public art has testes.

All that being said...from the picture...which may not be representative enough to make a judgement...I don't much care for the art itself. I don't find it offensive...I just kinda think it's ugly. Technically nice, really good balance and whatnot...I just don't like it. I look at it and think "Eh..." and shrug. But then, all art is subjective and people will always have different opinions.
posted by dejah420 at 9:10 PM on September 18, 2002

As much as I like the two beams of light, I wouldn't want to get the monthly ConEd bill...

And yes, the falling woman statue is art. And no, I don't think it should be taken down. Although I would take issue with clothes making the statue seem dated. It seems that you'd want to recall the era in which the events took place. But then again, try to get people to agree on what the figure should wear; yeesh...
posted by datawrangler at 9:14 PM on September 18, 2002

I don't think you want to recall the era: that dates the event, and the message is one that transcends time (to wit, the horror of falling to one's death, the insanity of terrorist acts, the need to work for peaceful solutions to problems, etc).

One of the greatest disappointments with American culture is its absurd paranoia of the naked human form. It is asinine to the extreme.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 PM on September 18, 2002

People can be such pussies - God forbid art provoke more reaction than 'golly - can I get that on a t-shirt?'
posted by ao4047 at 9:32 PM on September 18, 2002

I think the shattered head makes her more naked than the lack of clothes. I don't know how it affected others, but I almost felt the impact just by looking at the photograph this morning.
posted by neu at 9:35 PM on September 18, 2002

More on the reaction in NY.

But one Rock Center security guard, forced to endure the sculpture because of his job, said he felt as if he were being dragged against his will back to the terrible day when he actually watched human beings fall from the sky.

"I saw 70 people fall from the tower," he said. "Fall from almost 100 stories! To see a statue of people falling to the ground - it's nothing to be happy about."

posted by ericost at 9:52 PM on September 18, 2002

Fischl has been doing very similar works of art for years, though the sculpture thing is fairly new. I see this thing as being just another Fischl work, bearing relation to 9/11 solely because he say it does. Fischl has also always painted and sculpted nude figures, especially women, in a variety of sexually-charged yet ambiguous situations. He's never been a particularly good painter, though his early work is not without merit, and his sculpture is pretty uniformly lousy- bronze contemporary nude sculpture usually doesn't hold much interest for me.
posted by evanizer at 10:24 PM on September 18, 2002

A baleful attempt by Eric Fischl to exhume his DOA career by creating controversy. Great works of art have been made about, tragedy and war; (Picasso, Bosch, et cetera). Fischl's is not one of them.
posted by hama7 at 10:26 PM on September 18, 2002

CNN reports as well (this and the Post's harangue are the only ones that aren't simply pasted from the AP wire story). According to them, the sculpture (perhaps the entire exhibit) were only to remain up until Monday in any case; this wasn't its permanent home.

For myself, I tend to think that it requires a quieter, more personal place than what is basically an underground mall and pedestrian shortcut.

The artist, Eric Fischl, is a native New Yorker whose other sculpture resembles this piece: writhing nudes in bronze. He also attracted controversy for depicting Arthur Ashe nude.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 PM on September 18, 2002

Right, it's not so much that she's nude as that the sculpture depicts the moment of impact. That's what's shocking people. You can understand the reaction then. Maybe it'd be useful to compare it to other, similarly graphic - if not more so - memorial pieces. It's been only a year though.
posted by furiousthought at 10:35 PM on September 18, 2002

Eeep, I mean that as a response to Ericost's post upthread a bit.

Fischl's paintings don't seem to do a whole lot except be strange.
posted by furiousthought at 10:42 PM on September 18, 2002

I think that it's "art". I think that it's disturbing. I even think that it's fitting that art is created which recalls and illuminates the sheer human horror of that morning -- after all art should serve to remind us of even those aspects of our humanity that we would rather forget. (Like, say, our mortality.)

But I don't think it's fitting as a "memorial" in a city where people are probably still all-too-vividly remembering seeing first hand things like what this sculpture portrays. It just seems, I dunno, mean. Maybe 20 years from now. Maybe even now, in some other place. But I think that NYC has had its fill of falling bodies for a while.
posted by dryad at 10:47 PM on September 18, 2002

Fischl was a hack in the eighties and rode in on the ego-soiled coattails of Schnable et al. He's still a hack, but he's been around long enough that no one questions him anymore. After 20 years, he still can't really draw for shit. And as for thinking, well...
posted by joemaller at 11:20 PM on September 18, 2002

And I suppose there was some emotional intent to the fact that the woman's arms seem to be too small to reach her feet?

This sucks on purely formal levels well beyond it's emotional incompetence.
posted by joemaller at 11:33 PM on September 18, 2002

I think Rudy 'Il Duce' Giuliani's censorship attempts against the Brooklyn Museum set the tone that makes average New Yorkers feel that they can dictate to a whole city full of citizens like myself what we can or cannot look at...

The art was displayed in a private courtyard, it's not on the street. In NYC one is reminded of 9/11 constantly, with endless tattered and bleached out ratty flags everywhere, and billboards all over the city and the subway system from the NYC health department suggesting that if people are depressed, unable to sleep, no longer working efficiently etc that we go shopping
more, or call their hotline

Maybe 'the scream' was and is disturbing too but it doesn't change the facts of the world to censor it

Just one New Yorker's thoughts

Giuliani is a fraud.

Giuliani falsifies crime stats.

Giuliani, Fuhrer of our Country?

FDNY: Giuliani is a fascist thug

Giuliani's Decency Commission Exposed
posted by Babylonian at 11:54 PM on September 18, 2002

At some point the people of New York, et al are going to have to be able to think about the attacks of September 11th without their lips quivering. This is a symbolic representation of the event, and not, say, video footage of their loved ones dying. It is not a healthy sign that they aren't yet at the point where they can accept it yet. Everybody loses people. You move on.
posted by Hildago at 12:43 AM on September 19, 2002

At some point the people of New York, et al are going to have to be able to think about the attacks of September 11th without their lips quivering... It is not a healthy sign that they aren't yet at the point where they can accept it yet.

When this generation dies, and a new generation takes their place, the lips will stop quivering. I can think about Pearl Harbor without my lip quivering, but I'm pretty sure my parents never could. It's only a year later. The events of December 7, 1941 were still very much on people's minds in December of 1942.

Nearly 3000 people died, and the tallest buildings in the city were brought down. No one is going to 'move on' from that for a while. No one is going to 'accept it'.

Maybe you believe that the US brought it on itself? That US policies and actions are the 'root cause'? Maybe the 'root cause' of the Gunpowder, Treason and Plot was English persecution of Roman Catholics, and the Establishment of Anglicanism. No matter. 400 years later, November 5th is still remembered.

September 11 isn't going away anytime soon. For good or ill, its reverberations will color Americans' attitudes and America's foreign policy for the foreseeable future, as long as our generation lasts.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:12 AM on September 19, 2002

Wait until some performance artist starts hurling cow hearts or some damn thing off skyscrapers and calling it "Twin Tower Requiem" or fill in dumb thing here. Matter of time, only. Nothing's shocking.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:08 AM on September 19, 2002

First off, as a work of art, I think it is fairly tasteless. Memorializing the moment of impact? Come on!

But putting art criticism aside for a moment, it is utterly uncalled for to put this work in an outside venue -with no spoilers-in an area where people who saw the real thing would see it. If it were in a museum or other area where people would consciously make the choice to view it, that would be another thing entirely.

Imagine having lost a friend in the Trade Towers-imagine actually viewing people leaping and hitting the ground on that day-then imagine unexpectedly coming upon that statue. And for people suffering from post-traumatic stress-oh my God what a trigger.

To those who say the people of New York should get over it-I know it would take ME more than a stinking year to get over it. People who weren't there are one thing-but if one was there I should think it would take a very very long time.
posted by konolia at 3:37 AM on September 19, 2002

yah, what the hell, eh. some viet vets have NEVER gotten over it. my neighbor used to open fire on the corner mailbox everytime The A Team came on.
posted by quonsar at 4:16 AM on September 19, 2002

If that was supposed to be funny, it wasn't. Sorry.
posted by konolia at 4:19 AM on September 19, 2002

Nevertheless, it brings up a valid point. Everyone deals with death in different ways. It's never valid for anyone to say "Get over it on my timeline and in my way."

Do we rip down the tattered flags and posters because it offends some? Reminds them of a friend who died? Recalls their grief?

Art can heal. Art can turn the individual emotion into a display of humanity. Censoring art reduces our society. If that particular piece doesn't move you -- move on.
posted by ?! at 5:30 AM on September 19, 2002

It reminds me alot of the statue overlooking the skating rink at Rockefeller Center.
posted by mikhail at 6:31 AM on September 19, 2002

I think it depicts the most horrific image of the whole horrifying morning with surprising taste. Of course this leaves the eternal question regarding art: Why?

But I can understand how it still might be too much for some. So don't go look at it. (Security guards, sorry.)
posted by gottabefunky at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2002

I have to agree with gottabefunky.. If anyone is so sensitive that they can't deal with anything that reminds them of the WTC then they should leave NYC rather than insist that their squeamishness overrule the rights of everyone else, and that they should be able to impose censorship on the rest of the city. If that's how they feel then I'm sorry but I think they should go move somewhere else, or preferably learn to deal with the fact that everyone feels differently. Sorry, but Art, Literature, talking about it etc is part of the healing process.
posted by Babylonian at 7:26 AM on September 19, 2002

I'm seeing the word censorship used pretty loosely in this thread.

If a private entity wants to remove or move a piece of art based on commments from other private entities who have viewed the piece, I don't really care.

When Bloomberg goes in there and moves it, then I'll care.

A) Of course its art.

B) Of course it is going to hurt or offend some (that was probably part of its purpose); just as a statue that memorialized the moment the bullet came out the other side of Martin Luther King would offend some.

C) Of course the Rockefeller Center has the right to put the statue there and keep it there if they want.

D) Those who walk by have the right to try to convince the Rockefeller Center otherwise.
posted by obfusciatrist at 7:27 AM on September 19, 2002

Well, my main point remains that this graphic an artwork needs to have spoilers-in other words, giving people an opportunity NOT to view it. In the articles I have read, people were confronted with it with no warning of any sort. That is simply cruel.

And for those who want to compare this with a ripped flag, give me a break. There is no comparison.

Did the artist have the right to make the artwork? Yes.
Should someone have the right to exhibit it? Yes.

Do I have the right to think this was handled in incredibly poor taste-and probably as a cynical publicity stunt?

Yes and Yes.
posted by konolia at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2002

The following is a quote from the artist on the subject of his nude Arthur Ashe, which dhartung mentioned:

"I wanted to give these attributes a human form and I wanted it to be uplifting; to give the viewer a soaring and transcendent feeling," the sculptor said. "I believe it had to be nude to give these values a timeless quality and to remind us that our immortality necessarily passes through the vulnerability of our flesh."

It's about a different piece, but I think a similar explanation can be applied to the Tumbling Woman (not so much uplifting and transcendent, of course).

You *could* have put her in a power suit and three-inch heels, but I think that would have ended up making an entirely different statement. (So off-topic: I bet flat shoes have made a hell of a fashion comeback the last year or so.)

neu: "shattered head"? it's hard to tell with the photo/video we've got to work with, but it looks like hair to me.

On preview: konolia, why does the fact that you had a negative reaction to this piece have to translate into a "cynical publicity stunt"? is it not possible that ... uh ... you simply had a negative reaction to this piece? Everybody worked/is working through their reactions to 9/11 in their own ways; for creative people, they're likely to, well, create. See: every weblog on the planet, for example. I wouldn't call most of them *art*, mind you, but for writers who write about what they're thinking about, floods of words on the topic of 9/11 were inevitable. My point is, I'd be very surprised if we were *not* by now starting to see shadows and outright reflections of 9/11 in the work of artists and creative people all over America, and if there is cynicism here, in my view it belongs to you, not to Fischl.
posted by Sapphireblue at 7:51 AM on September 19, 2002

Sapphire, I happen to believe the people involved in this display of artwork were not idiots. They knew very well the reaction this particular work in this particular place at this particular time would invoke.

And as a former artist and present musician, I understand the difference between interpreting an event through the creative arts and what has happened here. I agree that art is part of the healing process, but here I believe that concept is being exploited. ...and simply because the great and mighty word "Art" is being evoked does not excuse or defend how this entire display was handled.
posted by konolia at 8:05 AM on September 19, 2002

ericost posted some reactions from an article: "I saw 70 people fall from the tower," he said. "Fall from almost 100 stories! To see a statue of people falling to the ground - it's nothing to be happy about."

Why should anyone be happy about it? It's still art. And quite frankly, if I'd seen it with no help, I wouldn't have known that's what it's supposed to be depicting. Maybe it looks more graphic in person?

Wish it had been a man, too. Yes, the female form is great, but there should be more penises in art today. Let's get over that naked thing.
posted by agregoli at 8:24 AM on September 19, 2002

I love nudity in art; nearly every room in my house has a nude print or two. After trying to analyze why the nudity of this piece disturbed me so much, I came to the conclusion that it is the coupling of this woman's agony with her nakedness that leaves me feeling horrified. It reminds me too much of the ongoing violence against women, and I think that is the artist's intent. I think he callously used our emotional reaction to her vulnerability to make an impact. How much more graceful, how much more artistic it would have been to make the sculpture an abstract piece. The suggestion of a woman in a death flight. But clearly that is beyond this artist's abilities; he would rather beat us over the head with a bronze hammer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:24 AM on September 19, 2002

I think it's a bad sculpture, but the artist has every right to make it. The question is simply what the Rockefeller Center chooses to show in such a public space. I like questioning work. I just think they could have found something better than this piece of publicity-hungry kitsch.

In related news, Damien Hirst apologises for his 9/11 anniversary comments.
posted by liam at 8:38 AM on September 19, 2002

Hildago: "Everybody loses people. You move on"

Slithy's response: "Maybe you believe that the US brought it on itself?"

a comment on the cessation of grief = hating America
posted by tolkhan at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2002

And we need "spoilers," or warnings before we see artwork now? What are they going to do, put up a sign saying, "Warning: Controversial Artwork Ahead?"
posted by agregoli at 9:35 AM on September 19, 2002

"If that was supposed to be funny, it wasn't. Sorry."

I thought it was hilarious.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2002

The only part I read that says it is the point of impact was in the Post harangue (as Dhartung aptly put it) and the comments here. It's hard to tell with the two photos, especially since the perspective of the Post photo is standing over it, but it doesn't look like a shattered head to me. Plus, "Tumbling Woman" implies that she is in the air. I guess the scene is altogether one thing, but the focus is different if it is the point of impact. I doubt that it is.

Anyone have some better detail?

It tolls for thee. The work seems valid. The venue is the problem especially what expectations people bring to a 9/11 memorial... tourism, and the easier to embrace heroism, etc. Can we afford to keep such reflection in quiet seclusion or the vagueness of abstraction? Does emotionality about our own vulnerability trump a need to reflect on the truth of it?

Easy for me to ask sitting at a computer miles away from the tragedy, I admit. I only saw images.
posted by mblandi at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2002

tolkhan: it was a acknowledgement of Hildago's views. And an attempt to anticipate and deflect a possible objection to my argument. I'm not addressing whether or not the US was responsible. It's not relevant to what I was trying to say.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2002

How is this different from the Holocaust artworks that portray nude emaciated figures? For some subjects I'm bothered more by sugary images of comfort than a bitterly disturbing work.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:49 AM on September 19, 2002


I still think this debate should be less about the artwork and more on the appropriateness of the timing and venue.
posted by konolia at 11:20 AM on September 19, 2002

You can dislike Fischl all you want, but he's not a hack like Schnabel or other 80s careerists. Fischl is a sophisticated artist with a command of both technique and subject matter.

If this sculpture is censored we must trot out the cliche: the terrorists have already won.
posted by skimble at 11:30 AM on September 19, 2002

This statue reminds me of seeing a closeup of a man falling from the WTC in an awkward upside down position. It especially bothered me because it was such an undignified position. (If a comedic acrobat was trying for that look, the audience would be laughing.)
As for the callousness of not caring whether this disturbs someone -- remember the old philosophical question, "If you had to flee your house and you only had time to save one thing, a painting or your pet, which would you choose?" Well, to me there's a similar choice here -- Do you want to defend Art or do you want to be sensitive to fellow living creatures and the suffering they're experiencing?
No, I don't want to censor Fischl. But I'd put this in a gallery where people have been warned they might see a disturbing image.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:44 PM on September 19, 2002

I see far more disturbing images on the nightly news, and they don't even warn me before that.
posted by agregoli at 1:30 PM on September 19, 2002

--- don't clink any link you are not prepared to view --

konolia: "And for those who want to compare this with a ripped flag, give me a break. There is no comparison."

Sorry, I can't give you that break today. This is a ripped flag. This is the statue. This is a photo of a falling man. This is a song about a falling man. These are memories of the event and all that surrounds it.

Each image, lyric or thought above is art ("Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. ")

Each piece gives me pause. Each heals, angers, saddens, or uplifts me. Each gives me insight into humans and humanity.

That is a comparison.
posted by ?! at 1:46 PM on September 19, 2002

Slithy: i'm aware that you weren't addressing whether the US is responsible. i guess i took your "brought it on itself" comment as part of your response to Hildago, which looked as if you'd taken his comment as "Geez, get over it!" i've grown accustomed to people pulling irrelevant arguments and points out of their asses, and i guess i'm starting to see it where it's not happening.

"No one is going to 'move on' from that for a while."

or so pray national news companies and many politicians. some folks have, though, and saying things like that seems like trying to tell others how they should feel about it (else they ain't good Americans, or even human, for that matter).

which comes back around to (general comment), if this piece of art is going to offend or upset you or bring back horrible memories of what you saw on television, avoid it. stop expecting others to play mommy and daddy for you and kiss your boo-boos.
posted by tolkhan at 1:51 PM on September 19, 2002

Why nude? For many reasons, stated above... It is hard to sclupt good clothes that are being blown by the wind. And besides that, it captures the helplessness of the person.

Now, why female? Think about it, what would a penis look like if not restained and falling? I think the female body is a much better suited specimin for this type of sculpture. Also, picture a man jumping from a building and a woman doing the same thing. For me anyways, a woman falling sparks more emotions in my mind. Your milage may vary.
posted by f00b4r at 2:57 PM on September 19, 2002

Why does a woman jumping spark more emotions for you? I'm just curious.

The sculpture pictures the woman with small breasts - I imagine large ones unrestrained would look weird as well.
posted by agregoli at 2:59 PM on September 19, 2002

I am not entirely sure, otherwise I would have added that in the original post. Probably just for the reason at the time I thought of a woman in that situation more helpless than a man, but obviously that is not the case. I am not sure.
posted by f00b4r at 3:29 PM on September 19, 2002

Dear ?!...you made my point. I can choose whether or not to click on a link.

I simply cannot see what the point is in shoving this sort of thing in front of someone who actually saw the real thing without even giving them the choice whether or not to view it. There is no possible way this could be healing for them.

I myself don't have a problem viewing any of the photos. But none of my friends or family died that day.
posted by konolia at 7:58 PM on September 19, 2002

Do we really need the aestheticised, eroticised, and awkwardly rendered statue of a nude woman make by an untalented hack artist to draw us toward catharsis? No. I hate this post-romantic notion that art is some sort of "bitter medicine" that the joyless proles need to swallow; there seems to be a ridiculous assumption that art is, at best, a therapeutic tool, a didactic classroom aide, an effervescent antacid to aid burps of the soul. Bullshite. If this is "art's" function for you, fine, dandy. I personally don't need correction, not from Eric Fischl's bad art or from anyone else's. I happen to think that art has a much higher- and much more ambiguous- function than "castor oil for the Spirit".
posted by evanizer at 11:15 PM on September 19, 2002

Why are all the conservatives -- the NY Post included -- so eager to describe Fischl as a washed-up hack? Seems to be getting the commissions, doncha know.
posted by dhartung at 11:27 PM on September 19, 2002

Commissions do not an artist make.
posted by konolia at 3:37 AM on September 20, 2002

Neither does calling someone a hack unmake the artist.

Art is not only in the creation; art is also the experience. For me Rilkie is art, for you he might be unfathomable gibberish. For you Picasso a genius, for me overrated scribbling.

It still won't undo the fact that each was a "human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature." Each speaks on some level to many.

If art is public why must it be whitewashed and watered down to not offend some? This piece may offend you. You can protest all you want. You can have it removed to "protect the children." You can call the artist a hack to make your ad hominem point. Nevertheless, it was created. It was experienced. It spoke. You can't put that genie back in the bottle.

Where does your censorship end? The next thing you'll tell me is your elected officials are embarrassed by statues with bare breasts and want them covered. Maybe next they'll go into the museums and remove the artworks depicting uncovered breasts.
posted by ?! at 12:48 PM on September 20, 2002

Everytime someone on Metafilter uses the word "censorship" gratuitously, God kills a kitten.
posted by evanizer at 3:37 PM on September 20, 2002

Evanizer, if that were true cats would be extinct.

I despair at the inability of people to think about this topic without the kneejerk reactions. Why does it have to be Art vs. Common Decency? That is a false dichonomy , and I can only conclude that certain people have never had a personal loss and/or simply callous individuals who think Art means you can do anything anytime no matter what as long as one labels it Art. I call horseradish on that idea.
posted by konolia at 3:55 PM on September 20, 2002

evanizer: - censorship: Prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness except in a disguised form.

and so goes Fluffy?

konolia: You're right. It is a false dichotomy, but it became one of the questions being discussed. While I won't speak about anyone else I can say (1) I've had personal loss (2) I am not considered callous by anyone who knows me (3) I have posted my definition of "art" (4) one can do anything and label it art, but my prime point is that we must let the viewer accept or deny that label for herself.

The people who asked for the removal of the artwork claimed to do so out of concern for some "common decency" or to "protect those hurt by loss" or "because it will offend my mom." I just say horseradish on that idea. I never want anyone thinking they are trying to protect me by removing a sculpture, painting, song, film, watercolor, poster, or tattered flag. They perform their act out of their own discomfort. Let them stand up and say so. Don't muddle the waters by claiming "it isn't art."
posted by ?! at 8:01 PM on September 20, 2002

September 11 isn't going away anytime soon. For good or ill, its reverberations will color Americans' attitudes and America's foreign policy for the foreseeable future, as long as our generation lasts.

For ill, I think, but then I'm not profiting from the protraction of human grief.

People die every day, and I can't fathom how their deaths can be any less meaningful than the deaths of 2800 office workers and firemen, except that there is money to be made in it. Death is not an accomplishment. They weren't martyrs. Why must we "never forget" people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? They didn't die in any glorious or instructive way; most would have died from internal injuries or asphyxiation. Some committed suicide. It's very sad, but what does it profit us to always be looking backward at it?

Nothing; it's an unhealthy fixation perpetuated by the media. It's more important to you than the average death (and more important to many than the deaths of their own family members) because everybody else says it is. I don't agree with that, and I think it's terrible, so there.
posted by Hildago at 2:35 PM on September 22, 2002

:cheers at Hildago.
posted by tolkhan at 8:33 AM on September 23, 2002

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