"Arsenal/Missile Launch"
       
     
"Arsenal/Missile Launch"
       
     
"Arsenal/Missile Launch"

"Arsenal/Missile Launch"

U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, 1959 (Illustrated Guide to US Missiles and Rockets)

charcoal on paper

84” x 175”

Titan Missile Launch, 1960

charcoal on paper

126” x 42”

I made two drawings for Studio Systems 2 this June, U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, 1959 and Titan Missile Launch, 1960. Both are directly sourced from archival material published at the height of the Cold War.

In U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, 1959, the diagrammatic silhouettes come from “The Illustrated Guide to US Missiles and Rockets.” By 1959, the US had some 35 different makes and models of nuclear-capable delivery systems, most of which are pictured here (the exception being the “Titan” missile, which in 1959 was still classified.)

These drawings represent the beginning of the “Military Industrial Complex” that Eisenhower would accurately warn us about in his famous speech two years later in 1961. The shapes in U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, 1959 originally accompanied detailed specifications of each missile in the “Illustrated Guide” and were the work of an anonymous designer.

I’ve detached these forms from their original contexts, grouping them together in a line of “text” like an iconographic language. The reality of their deadliness is “flattened out” into a seductive representation, raising questions about the complicit relationship of authority and art.