Nachume Miller

OverviewStudy 2, 1981, Ink on paper.

In these paintings, Nachume sequentially portrays images of the 1980 attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, reenacting photographs of the event on canvas and placing them next to photographed images of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The JFK portrayal references Warhol, whose duplicated prints of Jackie Kennedy before and after her journey in the ill-fated limo represent the way indelible images of brutality are simultaneously deified and debased through the mass media.

In the Assassination Series, Nachume expresses the timeless universality of violence in the form of the giant, mythic Colossus and hands that solemnly overlook and grieve the scenes. Yet, he undercuts this by suggesting a certain voyeuristic tawdriness that surrounds its modern incidence, by directly copying the press photo, portraying the gawking onlookers, and comparing it to the Kennedy assassination. These are our present-day gods being slaughtered, but we get to watch it, as a nation, in real-time. When these events become frequent, and are then regurgitated in the press, how does this affect the gravity we feel towards them? When the present day portrays the human condition of violence, does it debase our humanity? Is that, in turn, a form of violence?

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