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Asleep in the National Museum  photo

Asleep in the National Museum, 
you awake – to an email from a 
straight white male painter whose 
work is mostly figurative renderings 
of 9/11. He is especially interested 
in the South Tower and Flight 175. 
He paints using the ashes of the 
towers in his watercolors. According 
to his website, which is in the third 
person, this process turns "[the paper] 
from brilliant white to dull gray." 
In any case, he wishes to send his 
work to the museum. You do not 
know how to advise him. He has 
had a solo show at 4 world trade 
center and you think he should stop. 
He has also shown at the 9/11 Museum – 
which you imagine to be a collecting
institution. You find his paintings 
quaint, in a terrifying way. They 
also don’t fit into an art historical 
context. Because they shouldn’t. 
You tell him he must send in a 
reproduction of the work, via mail. 
He replies that he insists
on emailing these paintings
of the towers, you guess, though,
he also has paintings of birds,
of gardens, above it, cranes, bottoms, 
construction sites, shorelines, 
high peaks, lower meadows, 
pools and reflections, glimmers, 
by the sea, high peaks, boomtown,
paths, new earth, excavation,
across the harbor, river ice, towers,
river ice, harbor, escape, bridges,
meadows, iguanas, mackerel,
midnight, midnights, gardens,
curtains, midstream, after the flood,
blue spring, danger, looming,  
in the studio, on nearby islands,
in the garden, from the palisades,
frozen palisades, canals, dry canals,
down meadows, the road to long lake, 
lichen, downriver, bottoms, alderbrook, 
sunsets, tongues, February sunsets,
on the Delaware. The painting
of the birds is called Lifting,
the lark ascends and this occurs 
at around the same time
the towers fall, which you find
funny in a stupid way.

image: Connor Messinger