February 19, 2020

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?

In an interview for the School of Visual Arts blog, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt talked about the influence of his mother on his art.

My whole aesthetic is based on the house I grew up in. My mother was a tremendous influence. She had Virgin Mary statues and Jesus statues and pixie knickknacks and plastic tablecloths and plastic doilies and plastic flowers. She would Scotch-tape things on the kitchen wall so it became almost like a big collage. She was an artist in her own right.

I honestly consider my art to be the same type of thing. . . .

What evidence do you see of  the artist’s maternal influence in this collage?

This artist and professor at SVA also 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?

Review some of the information and resources from Today in History: September 11, 2001, then look at this collage again. What new insights into this work of art do you have?


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