Guided Primary Source Analysis: Engine Company 54 lost 15 men, 9/11/01

Lanigan-Schmidt, Thomas. “Engine Company 54 lost 15 men, 9/11/01.” Exit Art Gallery Reactions Collection: A Global Response to the 9/11 Attacks.

Look at this collage as a whole and then examine it’s details. What do you notice first? What else draws your attention? How does this work inform your understanding of this event and its impact?

This artist and professor at the School of Visual Arts talked about why he uses everyday materials and what attracted him to them growing up.

It’s the quality of the materials—the way they reflect and catch the light—and it’s the magic of the materials. These are things that people throw out. Like cling wrap—people throw that away, that’s gone. Not in my family, we used wax paper, but when I was an altar kid, the other kids would bring their sandwiches in Saran Wrap, and I’d take it and make little pearls. To me, right away, it’s a precious material.

What everyday materials do you see evidence of in this collage? What feeling do you get from looking at this piece of art? How does art help us to process and understand difficult events?

Collect everyday materials and create a piece of art that reflects on a contemporary event. Write a curator’s note to accompany the piece that describes your work in some way.

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!

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