Last week I attended the panel discussion at Duke University, Artistic and Visual Responses to 9/11, with photographer Jonathan Hyman, artist and curator Pedro Lasch, and Professor of Visual Studies Gennifer Weisenberg. It was a refreshing reminder that in these momentous times (and throughout history) when our collective identity is in upheaval, artists take on a critical role in the community by doing what they do best—interpret, provoke, express, reflect. (The masterful Howard Zinn touches on this role of the artist in his book, Artists in Times of War).
The panel was held in conjunction with the exhibition Flesh and Metal, Bodies and Buildings, by photographer Jonathan Hyman and curated by Pedro Lasch. The photographs illustrate the "various ways Americans used signs and symbols to publicly grieve in the weeks and months following 9/11," and provoke an interesting exploration on the intersection of art and the vernacular, the spontaneous and the formalized, visual language and the collective identity.
Photographs by Jonathan Hyman