Vassar’s 2010-11 artist in residence, Aaron Fein ’93, pictured below, displayed his outdoor sculpture installation White Flags on Vassar’s Chapel lawn from April 24 to 29. The art project commemorates the upcoming 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and is intended to be a monument to peace.
For the exhibition, Fein rendered all 192 flags of the U.N. member states entirely in white. The project was inspired by observations the artist made in the months following the attacks. Fein noticed how the many American flag bumper stickers he saw “began to lose their color in a slow but inevitable fade to white.” He started the White Flags project to “re-imagine a world in which our national symbols have faded just enough to highlight our common bond as a single human family.”
The college community united to assist Fein throughout his residency. Students, faculty, and staff joined him at sewing stations to help create the flags. Volunteers also helped to arrange and disassemble the exhibit each day. In events throughout the week, Fein and his wife, Dahlia Lithwick, a media commentator, encouraged educational discourse, engaging the community in discussions about the potency and promise of language and symbols—fundamental tools used to unite and divide.
The events surrounding Fein’s exhibition were supported by funds from the Vassar Artist in Residence Program, which is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation.