The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, October 7, 2022


Memorial along National Mall offers stark reminder of virus's toll
People sit among white flags near the Washington Monument in Washington on Sept. 17, 2021, that are part of artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's temporary art installation, "In America: Remember," in remembrance of Americans who have died of COVID-19. Kenny Holston/The New York Times.

by Chris Cameron



WASHINGTON, DC.- Peering at a sea of white flags blanketing the National Mall, Dr. Laura Valleni recalled the scores of pregnant women who had contracted the coronavirus at her hospital in South Carolina. Babies have been born prematurely, mothers have died and a surge of children has overwhelmed the pediatric unit for the past two months, she said.

“I’ve been grappling with when it became OK for even one person to die of preventable illness,” said Valleni, a neonatal physician at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Midlands in Columbia. “There’s such tremendous grief.”

She was one of dozens who flocked to the opening Friday morning of “In America: Remember,” an art installation of hundreds of thousands of flags planted along the mall that honor the more than 670,000 people in the United States who have died from the coronavirus.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser were in attendance as visitors walked among the rows of white flags covering 20 acres of federal park land bordering the White House, the Washington Monument, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the World War II Memorial.

Angelica Rivera, 33, a call center agent for a health care facility in New Jersey, dedicated a flag to a colleague, Karla Pope, a nurse who died of the virus in January. “I love you! Thank you for everything you did for all of us. My forever work mom,” she wrote.

“We were one of the first health care centers to get vaccines in New Jersey and she was administering the shots, and then a little while later then she got sick,” Rivera said. “She got COVID and passed away. Her husband also passed away, and her kids were left without a mom and a dad.”

Other names and messages on flags paid tribute to loved ones: Marshall Ciccone, a dedicated husband; Bruce Allen Hutcheson, a health care hero; and Betty Fox, whose daughter aches for her.

The artist behind the installation, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, planted 267,000 flags in Washington last fall to recognize what was then the death toll of the coronavirus in the country.




Almost a year later, that figure has more than doubled. In the past week alone, more than 13,000 Americans have died — more than four times the number of people who died during 9/11.

Watching as a rainstorm swept over her installation minutes before the opening ceremony, Firstenberg said the flags offered a stark reminder of the number of people lost to the virus. “If we don’t manifest it physically, people will not understand,” she said.

“It breaks my heart,” she added. “Sometimes I just have to stop. It’s — it gets so hard.”

Visitors to the memorial expressed a similar weariness, drawn from their own experiences with the pandemic. Linda Whittaker, a psychotherapist who has treated many patients grieving the loss of coronavirus victims, said she had had to numb herself to the sorrow as a protective measure.

“It’s crushing,” Whittaker said, her voice wavering. “There are a number of colleagues in my field that are feeling the same thing. That there’s such an overwhelming sadness and grief and sense of helplessness and despair.”

But, she added, the memorial has given her a space to mourn.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who delivered remarks at the opening ceremony, compared the installation to the AIDS Memorial Quilt, another collaborative art piece displayed on the National Mall multiple times during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Valleni, the neonatal physician, recalled contributing a square to the quilt when it was displayed on the mall in the ’90s.

“It took our country a long time to learn about what was going on, and then to really embrace and care for people with HIV and AIDS,” she said. “This is very much resonating with me from that time.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

September 19, 2021

Fashion returns to the museum

James Cohan opens an exhibition of new work by Alison Elizabeth Taylor

Some asked, 'Does Chattanooga need a lynching memorial?'

Jessica Silverman announces representation of Rashaad Newsome

Christie's announces Fall Sales of Photographs, Prints and Multiples from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

CowParade NYC 2021 auction officially launches online with Heritage Auctions

Gagosian opens Memorial, an exhibition of new paintings by John Currin

National Book Awards announces its 2021 nominees

Notre-Dame de Paris finally ready for restoration

Memorial along National Mall offers stark reminder of virus's toll

Fred R. Kline, "art explorer," who placed lost works in museums, dies at 81

Church in former IS Iraqi stronghold gets new bell

Peter Blum Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by John Zurier

An eerie, thrilling trip to the Toronto International Film Festival

Ralph Irizarry, innovative Latin percussionist, dies at 67

Review: A choreographer's of-the-moment brand of 'not knowing'

Exhibition explores the complex relationship between space and the sensory

Gallery FUMI opens a new space with a new show

Spanish film director Mario Camus dies aged 86

Exhibition presents a boundary-pushing exploration of the most urgent global issues of our time

Mickalene Thomas debuts ten large-scale paintings at Lvy Gorvy

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers announces highlights included in the Estate Fine Art & Antique Auction

Migros Museum fr Gegenwartskunst opens the exhibition 'Playful Geometry'

'Buena Vista Social Club' at 25: Memories of memories

Wrapped Arc de Triomphe is Christo's fleeting gift to Paris

King's Cross becomes London Design Festival's hottest district for design, innovation, culture and creativity

Cooking Clash: The Cooking Game That Can Pay You For Playing It

Zalety kasyna z minimalną wpłatą




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful