When the plane crash occurred in Park Slope, Brooklyn on December l6, 1960, I was so moved I did first one painting, and then another. The first one was shown in my exhibiton at the Terrain Gallery in 1961, and is on my website now.
One of the deepest and most important things I have learned through my study of Aesthetic Realism is that ugliness is not only in the same world as the beautiful, but through relation we can find something like form in the ugly which makes for a new relation that is wonderful. We can even find sense in what seems so senseless.
Looking at a photograph of the crash I saw the white wings of the plane on the ground and I saw a wide sky. People were dark in the foreground. The photo I saw is reprinted in the Dec. 15 NYT. Something high had fallen low. I saw a symbolism in it quite other than the horror of having more than 100 people suddenly, terribly killed Sometimes when what is high (and wrongly high) is brought low, a person feels it is right. I translated the awful happening into that ethical situation. I hoped to show that in the painting.
Meanwhile I was moved by the fact that one lone, little boy had survived. And I read that a nurse had come to take care of him. Gabe Pressman in his emotionally affecting broadcast may have mentioned this. I do not remember. But I wrote to the woman at a place she was said to have frequented, Snooky's Pub. But unfortunately as the proprietor, Michael Hillyer wrote to me Ms. Lewnes did not appear. Or at least did not choose to respond.
I was born and brought up in Brooklyn not far from the site of that crash, and I was shaken as everyone was. But Brooklyn is the site of such beauty and such tragedy all mixed, and to be made sense of.