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April 15, 2006

Post 9/11: Are We There Yet?

Immediately following 9/11, there was actual fear that irony was dead.

In the following weeks, a wisdom emerged that it would take years

before a perspective of the event could be acquired — especially through

creative interpretation.

Has the point finally arrived where “enough time has passed?”


If Bruce Eric Kaplan’s illustration can be seen as a post-9/11 commentary,

will history distinguish between the event itself and the

Administration’s far-reaching and supposedly opportunistic reaction to it?

As well, has the cost of the aftermath turned out to be the barbed wiring

of our innocence?


Security,” a new series by artist Paul Shambroom, deals specifically

with fear, safety and liberty in post 9/11 America.  According to his gallery,

these figures “are posed to suggest the European tradition of elegant

full-length portraits of nobility.”  Is it really possible this icon (or this one)

has become America’s new model for nobility?  I’m not sure what’s scarier,

however, the images themselves, or the fact there is so little guidance over

how seriously to take them.

In retrospect, perhaps the greatest

casualty of 9/11 has been our sense of irony.

(…Finally, if you’re as compelled by image interpretation as I am, I’m interested in your take on the illustration.  One way to read it is as a triangle, with the two sets of couples and the lone child.  And among dozens of questions, why is the infant looking at the animals instead of Mom and Dad?  And what are the bear and the duck up to?)

(Paul Shambroom artist website.  “Security” exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery.)

(image1: “Childproof” by Bruce Eric Kaplan.  The New Yorker.  March 27, 2006.  Cover.  image 2: Police SWAT, camouflage and the linked Urban Search and Rescue courtesy of Paul Shambroom.  Image may not be used without prior permission.)

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