Pin It

Still Life With Torture 

click to enlarge Daniel Heyman's transcripts/portraits of detainee abuse in the Samuel Dorsky Museum on SUNY New Paltz campus.
  • Daniel Heyman's transcripts/portraits of detainee abuse in the Samuel Dorsky Museum on SUNY New Paltz campus.

Daniel Heyman made his first trip to the Mid East to interview former Abu Ghraib detainees in March 2006. In Istanbul, and on later trips to Amman, Jordan, over the past two years, Heyman sat in on interviews conducted by a legal team headed by human rights lawyer Susan Burke. Burke and her lawyers are bringing a civil lawsuit on behalf of 267 detainees against defense contractors CACI and Titan, who worked with the US Army at Abu Ghraib.

While seated in a room with the attorneys listening to the victims of human-rights abuses recount their experiences, Heyman would sketch or paint both a portrait of the speaker as well as part of his or her testimony, creating works of spare, visceral immediacy. “When I was in the interviews, I was painting as fast as I could,” Heyman says. “My goal is to bring back their words and let them speak for themselves. There’s no editing.” Heyman has interviewed 25 former detainees to date and plans to return to Istanbul in April for more interviews to continue creating this body of work, which currently resides in 14 different public collections, including that of the Library of Congress and Vassar College. “I want to use the work to bring to the American public a side of the war that is not widely seen—what it’s like to be a victim.”

Heyman will show 18 of his transcript/portraits as part of the exhibition “Intimacies of Distant War,” which opens this month at the Samuel Dorsky Museum. “Intimacies,” curated by Brian Wallace, examines artistic reactions to far-flung conflict through present and past work by Lida Abdul (video/audio installation), Leon Golub (painting), Mark Hogancamp (photographs), An-My Le (film installation), Steve Mumford (watercolor sketches), Yoko Ono (wearable sculpture), and Carolee Schneemann (film).

“Intimacies of Distant War” will be exhibited at the Dorsky Museum from February 8 through April 13. An opening reception will be held on February 8 from 6 to 8pm. Heyman and Burke will give a talk about their experiences working with detainees on March 3 at 7pm in Lecture Center 108 on the SUNY New Paltz campus. (845) 257-3844; www.newpaltz.edu/museum.

Speaking of...

  • CD Review: Wet Paint
  • CD Review: Wet Paint

    Review of Wetpaint's recent live recording.
    • May 26, 2009
  • Not Fade Away
  • Not Fade Away

    Peter Aaron talks to Todd Mack, founder of FODFest (the "Friends of Danny" festival) which remembers musician and journalist Daniel Pearl on what would have been his 45th birthday this month.
    • Sep 29, 2008
  • Book of Daniel
  • Book of Daniel

    Nina Shengold profiles memoirist and book reviewer Daniel Mendelsohn.
    • Jul 28, 2008
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Dale Chihuly: Ulysses Cylinders

    An exhibition of early glass work by Dale Chihuly at Vassar College's Thompson Memorial Library.
    • Nov 1, 2015
  • On The Cover: Kingsley Parker

    Parker's Oceans Apart, is a multimedia installation currently taking over the Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham that explores of the current state of our oceans.
    • Mar 1, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Homeschool at The Aldrich: Wish, Wonder, Write @ The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Homeschool at The Aldrich: Wish, Wonder, Write

Fri., March 24, 10-11:30 a.m. — Be inspired by Beth Campbell’s combination of writing and drawing, exploring what...
Mortality Mansions @ Hudson Area Library

Mortality Mansions

Fri., March 24, 6-7:30 p.m. — “Mortality Mansions” is a song cycle by Grammy Award-winning composer Herschel Garfein...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • On The Cover: Gabriel Garcia Roman
  • On The Cover: Gabriel Garcia Roman

    "Visceral Notions" will feature work by Gabriel Garcia Roman through March 26 at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • Andres Serrano Goes Back to School
  • Andres Serrano Goes Back to School

    The Andres Serrano retrospective at The School, the spectacular exhibition space established by Chelsea gallery owner Jack Shainman in Kinderhook, is a rare event.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • Parting Shot: Matthew Pleva
  • Parting Shot: Matthew Pleva

    Kingston-based multimedia artist Matthew Pleva seeks inspiration from everything around him.
    • Mar 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by Brian K. Mahoney

Hudson Valley Tweets