Gallery Part 1

T.C.&#039;s Back <br /><br />
Manhattan, NY  2003

T.C.’s Back
Manhattan, NY  2003

The NY Twin Towers have reincarnated as tattoos on the backs of all kinds of people, including numerous firefighters and their relatives. Two outstanding full torso tattoos in Hyman’s archive are included in this show. Firefighter Cassidy’s full-color tattoo solemnly displays the names of lost ones held on scrolls by two angels, common placeholders for the Towers in many of these vernacular memorials.

9/11 Memorial Masks on Bicycle  <br /><br />
Manhattan, NY  2003

9/11 Memorial Masks on Bicycle
Manhattan, NY  2003

These paper mache masks produced by “Liberty George” Dukov, honor individual victims, as well as groups of firefighters and policemen who died in the 9/11 attacks. Some of them also include an array of international flags. Sold down the street from the Museum of Modern Art by Mr. Dukov, a Bulgarian immigrant, these wearable icons still resonate as powerful articles of memory and mourning, death masks that temporarily cover the face of the living with those of the deceased, multinational flags that covered for a brief moment the American sense of being alone in the world.

Bronx Parking Lot<br /><br />
Bronx, NY 2006<br /><br />

Bronx Parking Lot 
Bronx, NY  2006


Many of the most powerful images in the collection, such as this one, lack any sense of monumentality or grandeur. They attest instead to the urgency of popular expression.

Rest in Peace<br /><br />
Staten Island, NY  2004

Rest in Peace
Staten Island, NY  2004


The bodies and faces of dead heroes have long served as material for official and vernacular monuments. The technologies of representation change, however, as do historical backdrops. The complexity of this photograph and the following photograph escapes language, one gravestone embodying the firefighter who died, and the other of the buildings that died with him.

Tombstone with Towers: Cindy Ann Deuel<br /><br />
Paterson, NJ  2004

Tombstone with Towers: Cindy Ann Deuel
Paterson, NJ  2004


The bodies and faces of dead heroes have long served as material for official and vernacular monuments. The technologies of representation change, however, as do historical backdrops. The complexity of this photograph and the preceding photograph escapes language, one gravestone embodying the firefighter who died, and the other of the buildings that died with him.

Flesh & Metal, Bodies & Buildings
Special Collections Gallery
Perkins Library
Duke University
9 May-16 October 2011

All text by Pedro Lasch

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