Judith Ann Moriarty
One Piece at a Time

Reality Television

By - Sep 11th, 2011 04:00 am

The Falling Man, a photograph by Richard Drew for the Associated Press. Used under Fair Use commentary guidelines.

Now playing on the National Geographic Channel: the nightmare known as 9/11. Broadcast on my Toshiba, it replays the specter of a desperate someone waving a towel from a window.

Two-hundred jump to their deaths.

A decade has passed since the Twin Towers event. As history goes, it caused barely a blip in the scheme of things. For me, that is.

A commercial for Expedia intrudes, and now I see a smiling guy who claims Allstate hands out 12,000 teddy bears to kids.

Third floor of the second tower. Female officer down.



I think about my favorite Twombly, the untitled blackboard-style gray painting with a rectangle drawn in white oil stick positioned dead center. I think about the Kiki Smith nude curled up into a fetal position, her sculpted and fragile beeswax skin suggesting the thinnest of membranes ‘twixt life and death.

Aged and distinguished, Robert DeNiro steps forth with a few words about the memorial.

The entire World Trade Center collapses.

I whisper, “God,” but I have none. I live in the here and now, listening to art speak to me, for me, and in the broadest sense, to others of my species should they care to listen.

Richard Bosman (American, b. 1944) Man Overboard, 1981 Color woodcut block: 23 3/4 x 15 in. (60.33 x 38.1 cm) sheet: 26 5/8 x 16 5/16 in. (67.63 x 41.43 cm) Gift of Contemporary Art Society with National Endowment for the Arts Matching Funds M1990.7 Photo credit John R. Glembin

Georg Baselitz (German, b. 1938) Head in Tears, 1986 Color etching and aquatint plate: 19 5/8 x 13 5/8 in. (49.85 x 34.61 cm) sheet: 30 1/16 x 22 7/16 in. (76.36 x 56.99 cm) Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.139 Photo credit Efraim Lev-er

Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955) Nickel Tailings #36, 1996 Chromogenic print, printed 2004 40 x 46 in. (101.6 x 116.84 cm) Purchase, Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund M2005.127 Photo credit John R. Glembin

Francesco Clemente (Italian, b. 1952) Untitled, 1982 Color woodcut block: 21 9/16 x 14 in. (54.77 x 35.56 cm) sheet: 27 x 21 5/16 in. (68.58 x 54.13 cm) Gift of Contemporary Art Society in honor of Russell Bowman M1986.29 Photo credit John R. Glembin


Carl Andre (American, b. 1935) 144 Pieces of Zinc, 1967 Zinc plates each plate: 12 x 12 x 3/8 in. (30.48 x 30.48 x 0.95 cm) Purchase, National Endowment for the Arts Matching Funds M1969.22 Photo credit Larry Sanders


*All images courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection. 

Categories: Art, Commentary

0 thoughts on “One Piece at a Time: Reality Television”

  1. Anonymous says:

    well done Jude,

  2. Anonymous says:

    The best 9/11 memorial piece. Thanks, Judith Ann. — Strini

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