WHAT WAS THE EFFECT OF SITTING IN ON THOSE 50 INTERVIEWS? Extremely sad. It made me very, very angry. Disbelief, depression. And also in a very weird way, [it was] extremely uplifting being able to be a listener for some people that have had a terrible thing happen to them. Part of what's happened to them is that they've been silenced violently. Being a listener for that person is a very positive thing. [Witnesses] would tell us over and over again after they talked to us, "I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you listened to me."
I HAD TO CRANE MY NECK AND TWIST MY HEAD TO READ THE TEXT IN MANY OF THESE PAINTINGS. WAS THAT INTENTIONAL? Absolutely. I want you, the viewer, to participate in some way in this testimony. As an American society we paid for this war, propagated this war, we didn't protest this war (some people did, but not particularly effectively). In general, the war was extremely supported by Democrats as well as Republicans. And these results of the war should be known. And you don't just know things with your brain, you know them with your body. It was a struggle for these people to live through it and it was a struggle for them to tell me. And so it shouldn't be given to you in an easy way. It should be given to you in a way that makes you participate.
YOU MENTION PICASSO'S LEGENDARY MURAL "GUERNICA" ON YOUR WEBSITE, AND AFTER SEEING THE SCALE AND SUBJECT OF THIS PIECE, I WAS REMINDED OF THAT WORK. IS THIS A KIND OF AMERICAN "GUERNICA" FOR THE IRAQ WAR? I love "Guernica" and I adore Picasso and I always have. Picasso had this way of working on different aspects of his work in kind of bits and pieces. He would work out his ideas in smaller works and then from time to time, he would produce a summation picture, a kind of old-style masterpiece, something that [said]: "OK, now I've worked out a little bit about this new thing, Cubism, and now I'm going to make 'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon.' I'm gonna pull it all together." And I've always thought of that as a goal of my own: from, time to time, [to] sum it all up, bring it together and make a major statement. But "Guernica" is made by a Spaniard about his own country being attacked. And in that sense, I could never do that, unless I was working with 9/11 imagery or something. I'm a part of the country of the aggressor.
The Bell Gallery will host an opening reception for "I am Sorry It is Difficult to Start" on Friday, April 5 at 5:30 pm.
: This Just In
, Abu Ghraib, Iraq War, Brown University, More