Monday, May 25, 2009


Yesterday, I happened to be in Greenpoint, Brooklyn as their Memorial Day parade was taking place. Though multi-ethnic, Greenpoint is populated predominantly by Polish and Latino residents. It is also home to many artists.

This small parade was particularly poignant. As is tradition, the honor guard was composed of one member from each branch of the U.S. armed services, and walking with them was an Army Chaplain and an Afghani family. This was unexpected and I started to cry. That was also unexpected.

Following the honor guard were marching formations from the Army, Navy, Marines and National Guard. As is the case whenever I see members of the armed services, their youth and ethnicity struck me. Interwoven with these marching contingents were roving Veterans of past wars. The Veterans wore their regimental insignia with great pride and I was again struck, this time by the age and dwindling number of those from WWII, which seems the last time an enemy was so clearly defined in our collective conscience.

I think Memorial Day is hard for artists. It is a holiday upon which we recognize that we are inextricable from the times in which we live. Fundamentally opposed to war, I enjoy the editorial luxury of my craft, while there are those who have pledged to defend that luxury. So on this Memorial Day, I would like to recognize those artists who have served their country.

Some of them are:

Roy Lichtenstein

Sam Francis

Wayne Thiebaud

Tom Wesselmann

Donald Judd

Kenneth Noland

Jules Olitski

Sam Gilliam

Thomas Downing

Ellsworth Kelly

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