Leo O'Donovan, S.J., on Jane Hammond's 'Fallen'

Thanks to Fr. Leo O'Donovan, a frequent contributor to America, for sending along this review of a moving and timely piece of art work:

In this season of remembrance, the FLAG Art Foundation in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood has become a place of pilgrimage. Here the New York-based artist Jane Hammond has installed her tribute to the American men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq, a work more moving than ever now that President Obama has determined to bring the last troops home by the end of the year. Called simply “Fallen,” the piece seems at first a seductively nostalgic bed of fall leaves placed on a low-lying bed measuring 15 by 5 feet. (The dimensions have varied, depending on the gallery space in the other cities where it has been shown: St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, and Roanoke, Virginia.) Looking down on the fragile potpourri of color, one gradually realizes that each leaf bears the name of someone lost in the war. The names, fully spelled out, as at birth and death, are Anglo and Hispanic, Native American and Asian, mournfully more various the longer one looks. There are now 4,455 leaves, each one unique, as were the—mostly young—people they represent. Real leaves were gathered and photographed, digitally scanned, printed on archival paper, then cut out by hand. The paper stems were thickened and fortified with fiberglass and matt medium, and the whole leaf then painted by hand in various colors. After being signed in ink, the leaves were subsequently molded. The artist must add, alas, more leaves to the memorial. And there is of course the horrible question of how many Iraqi lives were lost. But for now and until Dec. 15, anyone wishing to remember and pray for our own “departed dead” may stand, or kneel, before this altar of sacrifice. And the Whitney Museum of American Art, which owns Ms. Hammond’s piece, is considering extending its exhibition until Dec. 31.

Advertisement

“Fallen” is on view at the FLAG Art Foundation, 545 West 25 Street, Wed. through Sat., 11-5

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons.
Mark M. GrayJanuary 16, 2018
This issue of America presents the findings of the most comprehensive survey of U.S. Catholic women ever conducted.
Matt Malone, S.J.January 16, 2018
All the women who responded to this survey still identify themselves as Catholic, however far they may have strayed from a consistent practice of the faith they were raised in.
The EditorsJanuary 16, 2018
Women religious from the Children of Mary Convent in Newark, Ohio, gather during the 2015 annual March for Life in Washington. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)
America spoke to a number of young women religious about the vital contributions they and their fellow sisters make to the Catholic Church.
Our readersJanuary 16, 2018