Sunday, July 28, 2013

Iconic 9/11 Photo Too "Rah Rah" for Museum Director

This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.

Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.

“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.
Eventually, chief curator Jan Ramirez proposed a compromise, Greenspan writes. The Franklin shot was minimized in favor of three different photos via three different angles of the flag-raising scene.

“Several images undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment,’ Ramirez said, and suggest instead an event from multiple points of view, like the attacks more broadly,” the book says. “Shulan didn’t like three photographs more than he liked one, but he went along with it.”
This reminds me of the Smithsonian's Enola Gay exhibition controversy:
Enola Gay became the center of a controversy at the Smithsonian Institution when the museum planned to put its fuselage on public display in 1995 as part of an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The exhibit, The Crossroads: The End of World War II, the Atomic Bomb and the Cold War, was drafted by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum staff, and arranged around the restored Enola Gay.

Critics of the planned exhibit, especially those of the American Legion and the Air Force Association, charged that the exhibit focused too much attention on the Japanese casualties inflicted by the nuclear bomb, rather than on the motivations for the bombing or the discussion of the bomb's role in ending the conflict with Japan. The exhibit brought to national attention many long-standing academic and political issues related to retrospective views of the bombings. As a result, after various failed attempts to revise the exhibit in order to meet the satisfaction of competing interest groups, the exhibit was canceled on 30 January 1995. Martin O. Harwit, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, was compelled to resign over the controversy.
Let's face it; the art and museum industry is dominated by liberal who would rather eat iceberg lettuce than  say something good about America.  Only public pressure and shaming, and occasionally firing one for exceptional assholery will keep them in line, and then only just barely.

1 comment:

  1. I have childhood friends that are FDNY and were there that day, and by the grace of God all survived, but they lost a great number of thier firefighter friends and co-workers that day. I wonder what they would say if they were asked, but I guess it's always better to cater to the creative whims of some asswipe that runs the risk everyday of getting a paper cut and has never faceed danger like these firefighters do every day.