Barbara Rothenberg, Asunder

The Collection and The Human Journey

What Does It Mean to Forge a More Just Society for the Common Good?



Asunder, Barbara Rothenberg
Gift of the Artist
(Located at the Academic Wing, Near Outtakes)

On September 11, 2001 Westport artist Barbara Rothenberg was working at home when she heard about the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. She spent the rest of the day watching events unfold on the news: “It was devastating. I couldn’t believe it.’’ Over the next several days she listened to heartbreaking accounts of people who were there, and people who lived nearby, reports of people falling and of ash so thick that people couldn’t breathe.

A few months later, Rothenberg created Asunder to commemorate the awful destruction of the Twin Towers, designing her collage to recall the chaos and violence of that day. The dark palette, punctuated with a flame-red core, evokes fire and ash. The sharp edges, scratched surfaces and ripped paper recall the distress of those there and the despair and frustration of those watching from a distance. The roofing shingle, though not from the site, symbolizes the structures that were destroyed. Rothenberg also includes segments of aerial images of the area taken after the attacks.

Rothenberg gave Asunder to Sacred Heart because she feels it belongs in an educational environment where it can serve as a constant reminder of a day that should never be forgotten. She believes that Asunder provides “an example of how art can sometimes serve history, and through its power extend our awareness.”

Anne Bolin, Ph.D.
Department of Graphic Design & Visual Arts