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"November 21, 1963 (San Antonio)", 2013
Ink on Duralar
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art Collection
Gift of the artist
A realistic black and white line drawing of a crowd of men in uniform gathered behind a woman who turns to acknowledge them. Some of the men are saluting; others are waving at her. A lone man in a suit and sunglasses stands behind the woman, his face pointed in her direction. The background of the drawing is dominated by a rectangular building. The artist has filled some areas of the image with detail while other areas are left mostly blank.
Deborah Aschheim’s works revolve around the formation and retrieval of memories. In many of her drawings, including this one, she focuses on politics as a site of communal memory, consulting archives to find source photographs connected to an event that every American who was alive at the time is expected to remember—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963. The source photograph for November 21 was taken the day prior to the assassination, when the presidential couple attended the dedication of the new Aerospace Medical Health Center at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Mimicking the imperfect nature of memory, she produces a superficially photographic image that reflects the idiosyncrasies of the hand guiding the pen and leaves some areas ‘forgotten’ or blank. By choosing a traumatic memory, she invites us to speculate on the future of more contemporary communal traumas, such as the 9/11 attacks, or the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas. Aschheim was a UNLV Artist-in-Residence in 2015. (DKS)