Brian DeGraw


This photograph shows me in my ramshackle studio of squalor, amid the fumes of the furnace and piles of thriftesque rubbish, all lit by the pure ugliness of office bulbs. I am working on a series of repetitive pencil drawing of John Lee Malvo, the notorious D.C. sniper, for a show at Gavin Brown's gallery in Rome. The element I find most interesting here is the coincidental placement of the clippings on the wall. Behind me, seemingly crawling out of my skull, is a photograph of my dear friend Nathan reaching up into the sky, taken just a few days before he was killed by a bolt of lightning on a Chinatown rooftop. Above him is a photograph of Osama bin Laden, who, again coincidentally, was cited in a New York Times article as being somewhat responsible for Nathan's death, because before the fall of the World Trade Center, lightning very rarely struck anything in Manhattan other than the towers themselves, as they were the highest conductors in the city. On the worktable in the foreground you can also make out the image of Bin Laden incorporated into the Malvo drawings, as Malvo was quoted as saying he wished Bin Laden had been his father. This photograph seems to me yet another nail in the coffin of "coincidence." Serendipity is afoot.