The painting they showed is huge. The largest possible on canvas. The size presented unique problems that Parrish talks about in a series of videos. There are five videos in one of the sets, each over eight minutes long, and I must say they are the fastest eight minutes I've experienced. They go by in a flash. They seem like two minutes. To me.
This Wikipedia page describes the reception of the painting but the Wikipedia page does not do it justice. Two reviewers, one from the NYT disparages it. Wikipedia relays that the NYT wrote:
"Mr. Parrish has a fine arsenal of talent and ideas, but this particular work comes off as overly staged, showy and annoyingly melodramatic, the clichéd pomp and classical symbolism drowning out a gentler, more compassionate spirit."Wassaamatter, NYT art critic, insufficiently post modern to suit your silly ass? Wikipedia doesn't name the reviewer. Let's see who wrote that.
[NYT Cycle of Terror and Tragedy] Benjamin Benoochio. Who's that? The reviewer elevates the critic at the expense of the artist. His review is not worth reading. But there it is if you care to.
[Benjamin Benoochio] Turns out Benjamin Benoochio has problems of his own especially regarding honesty. He's known to engage in conflict of interest by adjusting Wikipedia entries on his wife who is director of Hirshhorn Museum at the Smithsonian. The controversy is delineated at the link.
Back to the Wikipedia entry on the painting, the another critic, James Panero wrote:
“… is a pretty good painting that manages to be monumentally terrible."Oh, come on!
Wassaamatter, Panero, too on the nose to suit your highly refined taste?
James Panero's Wikipedia page, in case you care to know about him. Turns out he's younger than I imagined. So is the artist, about the same age. Panero is conservative and even wrote for a conservative magazine. The YouTube video I watched about him, he describes the necessity of registering Democrat as a matter of survival living in NYC. His opinion is being Republican means having no impact at all. But that was before Trump.
Critics see twin towers personified, loss of innocence.
Google images, [Graydon Parrish, AIDS]
Here is Graydon Parrish’s Wikipedia page.
The videos are somewhat disconcerting by the camera’s continually adjusting its white balance. Other than that I think you will find the videos engaging as I do. The artist is a pleasant man. His description of his work is wonderful, I think. I enjoyed tremendously watching all of them. Time very well spent. The first three are best in my opinion, the 4th a museum director is blah blah blahing, and that is less interesting to me, the 5th has some pretty good audience questions. I would like to have been there myself.
These are the videos that I watched. There are others, also presented in sets like this recorded at the 10th anniversary.
Parrish says his allegory is read from left to right. The symbolism he had in mind is quite clear. He discusses how things changed as he went along. How he understands that people will read their own ideas into it.
Comments are shut off for some of the videos, but not all of them. And commenters really do add their own interpretation. One man notices the "We" printed on paper in the style of the U.S. constitution and he reads the constitution is torn up. An anti-Bush sentiment it seems to me, in the painting it is part of the debris but not torn.
One commenter sees one of the weeping woman as representation of Justice, but hers is a headband and not a blindfold. Nevertheless, that is his reading.
Another sees the dark toned man as dead with his eyes open. While the artist says, "the more mature boy has his blindfold lifted, he's of an age where children notice the world is confusing and he is shocked by seeing the dark skinned person struck down dumbfounded but not necessarily dead.
Others notice the old man's eyes are wide open, he sees things clearly but he is unable to pass his knowledge onto the child and so it is through infinity symbolize by the red strip of fabric, the child must figure out the history that happens in the present all on his own, however the ribbon is broken, the blindfolded child on the far right connects back to the children on the left.
I especially enjoyed Parrish talking about what he learned as he did this, his difficulties, his frustrations, and his interaction with his models. I hope you can set aside some time for these. You'll come out of it a good deal smarter about art, I believe.
The artist talks about the difficulty of painting roses. Each one took two days to paint. He said a lot of his budget went for replacing the flowers. He remarks that people set flowers to cover the tragedy. The debris of papers is what struck the artist in real life and people rush in with flowers, not to ignore or forget the tragedy, rather to replace the event with beauty.
I still hate that habit of tossing flowers and cheap fuzzy gifts and balloons onto a heap. That impulse leaves junk to rot and for someone else to clean up.