Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Real places

Paris by Jack Savitsky

The Chicago Fire by Myrtle

In our criminal justice system, eyewitness testimony is often unreliable. That same distortion or false memory is wonderful when applied to the arts. If we didn't have cameras to photograph our vacations or friends or the homes where we live, no doubt the images conjured would be vastly more interesting. Of course, this is how it was before the invention of photography, but the documentarians were the highest caliber artists and draftsmen.

In Savitsky's drawing of Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triumph are conveniently close. Their angle and proximity is impossible in reality, as is the sparse traffic and handful of pedestrians. He recalls or imagines a better City of Lights.

In Myrtle's cutting board painting of The Chicago Fire, she opts for a modern setting and includes Uno's (the famous pizzeria) and Carson's Ribs, which would have made the fire even more tragic. However, the fire occurred in 1871, long before there was a Sears Tower (renamed the Willis Tower) or drive by shootings.

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