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From the Tower

an artist reflects on his time in the world trade center



In the mixed-media work he called “Premonition,” Litchfield-based artist Donald Bracken painted a thumbnail-sized World Trade Center beneath a column of pale sky nearly five feet tall and a mere four inches wide. A plumb bob affixed to the painting dangles directly over the minuscule towers like the sword of Damocles.

Bracken, a soft-spoken artist with curly, chin-length hair and a wiry build, created the piece in a studio on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center—in 1997. That year, as part of the Plein Air Project, an artists’ residency program organized by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, he used a vacant office floor in the North Tower of the World Trade Center as studio space for three months. “The project’s mission was to document the ever-changing skyline of Manhattan,” Bracken explains. He shakes his head—what is there to say about the irony of that? 
“Premonition” was not the only prescient piece Bracken made during his stint in the clouds. Another, “World on Fire,” shows a corner of an empty room where two walls of narrow windows meet. The tall, skinny windows—now horrifically familiar—are portals of yellow flame. “I was not the only artist who made paintings like this,” Bracken says. Several such prophetic images, including these two by Bracken, appear in Site Matters, a book featuring work from the project. It is dedicated to the late Michael Richards, an artist who was working on the 92nd floor the morning of September 11, 2001.

By that time, Bracken was living in upstate New York, but he had visited Battery Park in lower Manhattan on September 10—the day before that fateful Tuesday. “When a friend called to tell me about the attacks, my first response was to hurl handfuls of red oxide paint onto the Mylar [polyester sheet] that I had hung on my windows on the 91st floor.” He found the vast panorama from the windows overwhelming, so he had covered some of them up.

Bracken subsequently moved to Connecticut and started working in dirt—specifically, the ancient floodplain soil of the Connecticut River Valley. “The dirt paintings depict farmland and are made of the land, created on the site,” he explains. In 2007 the bucolic subject—and the dirt—changed dramatically, when Bracken acquired debris from Ground Zero. Bracken mixed paint with the acrid-smelling dirt, which contained electrifying fragments—shards of porcelain sinks, a hair barrette, a strand of beaded jewelry. One of the most affecting works in this series is “Torn Earth,” a pair of diagonally aligned squares gouged into the surface with an axe, a crowbar, and other tools Bracken imagined recovery workers would have wielded. “I threw paint on the panel and shoveled ash on top of that and beat on the whole thing with an axe,” he says. That disturbing energy still charges the ruined surface.

Bracken’s post-9/11 work culminates in a series of large pieces, using hollow-core doors the same size as the windows in the towers. The largest of these so far, “Heaven and Earth” (80 by 162 inches), recently shown at the New Arts Gallery, comprises nine moveable panels, each a door. The surface is composed of thick dabs of bisque-colored clay riven with hundreds of cracks, like a raku pot. It takes a moment for the image to crystallize out of the monochromatic texture. Then, it materializes—a ghostly relief of the New York cityscape from the North Tower’s 91st floor, dwarfed by an enormity of sky.

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August 2018

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 Little Free Library at StoneHill, an official partner with the global sensation nonprofit that has registered more than 75,000 lending books boxes, is offering a week-long summer camp called...

Cost: $200

Where:
Community Center
23 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Little Free Library at StoneHill
Telephone: 203-770-4156
Contact Name: Rose Buckens
Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

In 1837, eighteen year old Victoria ascended the British throne, untrained and innocent. Those who would try to usurp her power underestimated this self-willed intelligent young woman whose...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06579
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Steep Rock’s Association’s Judea Garden presents, as part of a series of events celebrating the Garden’s 10th season of growing and giving, Summer Garden Abundance:  What to...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Telephone: 186-086-87586
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Light hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary glass of wine will be served. Music will be provided by Western Lands Trio. Please mark your calendar to come enjoy a social evening and support land...

Cost: $45

Where:
Sunset Meadow Vineyards
599 Old Middle St
Goshen, CT
View map »


Telephone: (860) 201-4654
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

The internationally renowned Slam Allen is a messenger of love. This dynamic entertainer uses the genres of Blues, Soul, R&B, and a touch of Rock and Roll to deliver powerful soul stirring...

Cost: $30

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Are you just dying to get some dirt under your fingernails this season? Come to Back 40 Farm for Friday Field Days and help us out with weeding, transplanting, hoeing, harvesting, and more! Who:...

Where:
Back 40 Farm
Washington Depot, CT


Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the Litchfield Historical Society for Saturday morning walking tours exploring new themes and areas of the town. Walking tours last about an hour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a...

Cost: Free for members; $5 for non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Saturday, August 18 •  4:00PM •  Music Shed With a first-rate choir and ensemble, coupled with Simon Carrington’s remarkable programming, this concert has always...

Cost: Tickets: $60 – $20, $10 (Young Adults 18-25), and Kids under 18 Free!

Where:
Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate, 20 Litchfield Road
Norfolk, CT  06058
View map »


Telephone: 860-542-3000
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Farm-Fresh Market was created in 2007 with 15 local vendors, and has grown over the years to become a staple of the Litchfield Hills community throughout all seasons. We were so proud to be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Center School Parking Lot
Woodruff Lane
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-3871
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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