Pamela Harris

We Are Sorry December 12, 2016

Crushed. Devastated. I went to bed the night of the election long before results were in. At 3:00 in the morning I woke up, or really, Ginger woke me up. When I checked the NY Times on my phone and saw all that red on the USA map, I waited for my phone to fully wake so the map would turn blue.

It’s a call to creative arms. I am not one of those saying, “Let’s see how he does.” He’s shown who he is and for me that’s enough. Oprah once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

A surprising side effect is I feel reckless. Creatively, that’s good. Sometimes I wonder if I sand off the ragged bits in my work where an unfinished me lurks.

Over the years I’ve been working on a large installation and post-election I’ve discovered a fervor to continue it. In 1992, officials in Hannover, Germany, asked the artist Bruce Nauman to propose a Holocaust Memorial. His proposal was to create a sign that said, “We are sorry for what we did, and we promise not to do it again.” Nauman eventually decided against doing it, but his proposal stayed wth me. My stepfather is a Holocaust survivor, and that’s part of it, but so is the idea of remorse.

It’s too early to speak coherently about what I’m doing because a ton of images are flying around in my head. I do know it’s my way of protesting.

In 2008 I had an 11” x 17” tablet made (photo above) courtesy Dawn Carmilia and Visual Graphics Systems, and slightly changed the language Bruce Nauman proposed to make it mine. Then I made a maquette of what I want it to look like, did some drawings in Mr. Nauman’s style, and began amassing my own elements, i.e. paintings, drawings, word pieces, etc. The goal is to install it in a large gallery space, where I don’t know yet. I’m back working on it and that feels great.


Sadly, as every day passes your thoughts and actions are becoming more relevant. Fight, Go, Protest, Create! LOVE.

Victoria Strevens | January 30, 2017 at 11:43 am

My Dearest Pamela. I have found this particular blog very difficult to find the right words for a response. There's so much going on. Your anger and disillusionment over Trump being elected rolls into a Creative Moment to finish a Holocaust piece first initiated by Bruce Nauman, and mentions your stepfather as a survivor. How does someone relate to the Trump rage and the Holicaust suffering in the same sentence. Not sure I can. I'm sorry both happened, and I hope neither happens again. But I am happy about your vision for your new project, and if anyone can finish something like this, it's certainly you. The drawing reminds me of the colored drawing I got from you, a colorful atomic explosion. Good luck in whatever you do, because whatever it is you do, it will definitely be a success.

Paul Murphy | January 8, 2017 at 08:32 pm

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