Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s

Solo en Inglès

Eric Fischl, A Visit To / A Visit From / The Island, 1983. Oil on canvas, 84 × 168in. (213.4 × 426.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Inc., Seymour M. Klein, President 83.17a b

Eric Fischl: The painting has on the left panel a scene of people, presumably a family sort of frolicking in the crystal clear waters of a Caribbean Island. 

Narrator: Eric Fischl discusses his painting, A Visit To / A Visit From / The Island.

Eric Fischl: There's some reference to a hotel/condo building in the background on a white beach. In the panel on the [right] is a scene of absolute desperation and tragedy of Haitian boat people who have attempted to escape their hell and have washed up on the shores of Miami. I created a place that is emotionally uninhabitable for any length of time.

Through the news media—through our sort of global reach in terms of information, the drama and tragedies, the desperation, comes into our awareness, into our homes every day and creates a tension riveted by the drama of people trying to survive. And at the same time, living in a place where you actually can't help or you can't help them in an immediate and direct way, creates, in me anyway, a huge conflict. Knowing that this other stuff was going on, which was far more urgent, far more important. So I guess what it is, is the horrible irony of the simultaneity of our world.