The art: Richard Misrach, Untitled, from the series “Destroy This Memory,” 2005.
The news: The Atlantic’s Alan Taylor-edited In Focus picture-blog featured Julie Dermansky’s pictures of Alabama after the tornadoes yesterday. Dermansky shot and Taylor included plenty of devastation porn, but both photographer and editor were particularly drawn to the messages people spray-painted onto homes, automobiles, plywood, cardboard and wherever else. Many of them are religious in nature.
Dermansky’s photos reminded me of photographer Richard Misrach’s post-Hurricane Katrina project. Titled “Destroy This Memory,” Misrach’s project built a 69-photograph narrative out of the messages New Orleans residents spray-painted onto available surfaces after the storm. The result is a strikingly clear, direct storyof devastation, pain, loss and hope. Aperture published Misrach’s photo-narrativeas a book last year (Misrach’s royalties go to the Make it Right Foundation). In addition, Misrach gave complete sets of the series to five museums: The the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the National Gallery of Art, MoMA and SFMOMA.
The source: Aperture Foundation.