JoAnn Verburg Secrets: Iraq 1991

  • Not on view

This ordinary still life, featuring a cup of coffee and the New York Times newspaper, has been photographed in an unusual way. What might have been a benign, placid picture, reassuring to our sense of the tranquility of domestic life, has been fractured. The photographer has joined two views of the same scene into a diptych that is disorienting even though the space is continuous from one frame to the other. This work is a kind of puzzle that tests viewers' perceptions while drawing them in through the exquisite use of light and a radiant color palette.

A close look reveals the figure of a uniformed soldier on the left side of the first picture and palm trees above him. In the newspaper text, "troops and why it had not . . . the troops earlier?" is readable. In the righthand picture marching soldiers are visible through the glass coffee cup, and part of the word "Baghdad" can be read in the newspaper. This scene of ordinary domestic life has been invaded by the dramatic troubles of a distant war.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, p. 123.
Chromogenic color prints
Each 29 1/8 × 20 5/8" (74 × 52.4 cm)
Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel
Object number
© 2024 JoAnn Verburg

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