September 7th Class (Guernica)

We had our first class of the semester, and it was great being back with the group again.  In reflecting on my thought processes, I would have to be honest and say that the strongest image that stayed with me after the class was the commentary on 9/11 and why there was yet no Guernica.  From a literary perspective, reading the texts that referenced Guernica was an example of how frequent allusions to another art work or moment in history need to be known before one can fully comprehend what the writer is trying to say.  As I was unfamiliar with Guernica and the suffering of the Basques, the experience of reading the texts and using the painting to better comprehend the texts was a study in how arts integration can help our kids increase literacy on numerous levels.  Certainly, works like Guernica have stories that are begging to be told, and the exercise we engaged in during class illustrated how using various media can inspire us to delve more deeply into written and visual works of art.  But to get back to 9/11, I didn’t agree with Edward Sozanski’s opinion in his Sun article, “Art: Other than ‘Tribute in Light,’ 9/11 inspired few great art works.”  He proposed reasons for why 9/11 has not produced a piece of art on the level of Picasso’s Guernica: 1) We have no artist on the level of Picasso; 2) the ramifications of 9/11 are too complicated to be “encapsulated in a single work of art,” and 3) we have been saturated with too many photographic images.  I think he’s wrong.  Photography has its place all right, but it will never take the place of other forms of art.  And I think many would agree that although photography may seem to capture an event, it only captures it from one perspective.  Very often a work of art, whether it is a play, movie, painting, sculpture, musical composition, or book, can actually heighten reality and emotions more than an actual photograph.  Stories abound about 9/11, and some day they will be told.  At this time, however, the feelings are simply too raw.   Those of us who were old enough to remember 9/11, lost a lot on that day besides our loved ones and symbolic structures.  It will take time before we are able to express those losses in truly aesthetic works of art.

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About Kate Collins

AACPS Teacher (Certified in ESOL, Special Education, English, and Theater)
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