Kingston, NY: Maureen Cummins, 2004. One of 20 copies. Titanic is an altered edition of a single day’s copy of the Wall Street Journal. The artist explores the history of the 1912 Titanic disaster using excerpted accounts of passengers who survived the disaster. The resulting collaged text, which is printed inside the shape of the sinking boat, is visually reminiscent of children’s books, an allusion to the simplistic and oft-quoted belief, “She’s too big to sink.” The quotes chosen highlight the pervasive attitude of denial on the part of both passengers and staff, which not only contributed to the disaster but arguably allowed it to happen. On April 10, 1912 the greatest ship ever built, the Titanic, was launched on her maiden voyage. No cost had been spared in her construction or in the outfitting of her opulent compartments. For the millionaires, captains-of-industry and honeymoon couples who sailed with her, the Titanic promised the ultimate in luxury, status and social privilege. She was the very embodiment of the most cherished beliefs of her age, a limitless faith in science, technological progress, and man's ability to prevail over brute nature. Her owners, The White Star Line, declared her to be "unsinkable." Five days later, on April 15, 1912 at 11:45 p.m., the Titanic grazed an iceberg in the North Atlantic and was fatally pierced through her starboard side. When she sank, two and a half hours later, 1,513 lives were lost with her. Her fate, and the succession of human errors that sealed it, shocked the world. The Titanic, a ship that had been built as a monument to man's power and supremacy, came to be synonymous with human folly and mortality. This book by renowned book artist, Maureen Cummins, retells the story of the Titanic's last hours from memories of the ship's survivors. Drawing upon original memoirs published shortly after the disaster, the artist weaves together a chorus of voices to create a narrative reminiscent of Greek tragedy. Like the mythic ship herself, each statement of disbelief and denial looms larger than life. This beautiful and haunting book seeks to capture the greater significance of the Titanic disaster - an event that haunts our consciousness even though it is a nightmare catastrophe from another time. The piece pairs eyewitness accounts with graphic images of the sinking ship in black silhouette against deeply saturated fields of midnight blue sky and seascape. Layers of time and meaning from the book's text and the underlying newspaper intersect to create a palimpsest of poetry and the recording of events. Twenty copies of the Wall Street Journal were overprinted with six silkscreen runs. Produced by Cummins at the Women's Studio Workshop. In fine condition. 48 pages. ARTISTSB/100419. Fine.
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