News and Events
School of Public Policy Unveils 9/11 Tribute by Malibu Artist Robert Weingarten
Flags, 9/11, Robert I. Weingarten
In September 2008, Pepperdine University debuted its dramatic display of American flags on the lawn of its Malibu campus, as a tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and continued the new tradition in September 2009. While many Malibu residents and visitors to the area were struck by the display, Malibu artist and photographer Robert I. Weingarten was inspired to create his own "tribute to a tribute."
The School of Public Policy unveiled his tribute—an original art print, Flags, 9/11—in a ceremony on April 8 to honor the artist and celebrate the work as a piece of local and national history. The artistic rendering displays the flag commemoration as photographed on September 11, 2009, set against historic photographs taken on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York City.
School of Public Policy dean James Wilburn introduced Weingarten at the ceremony, saying the artist had "captured something really special."
"I am struck by the degree to which Weingarten is able to present translucent scenes as tangible metaphors for the most profound emotions and messages of life," he says. "As people enter our building, I hope that they will immediately know that the School of Public Policy is at once a place that honors the history and heritage of this exceptional nation, while at the same time is engaged in a search for the deepest and most enduring underlying values that determine the quality and meaning of life for each individual. It honors the larger ideas while also the particular impact they have on each person."
Weingarten and Dean James Wilburn
Wilburn also highlighted Pepperdine's own tragic loss as he shared his memories of Graziadio School of Business and Management alumnus Tom Burnett as a man committed to values and leadership. Burnett lost his life as a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 which, thanks to the heroic actions of passengers, crashed in a Pennsylvania field before reaching its intended target.
"The picture is related in a special way—because it hangs at Pepperdine—to the willingness of someone like my former student, Tom, to sacrifice his life because of his own concern for the welfare of others, whom he will never meet," says Wilburn.
Weingarten introduced his work as being inspired by the juxtaposition of witnessing a somber memorial in such a beautiful, upbeat setting as Pepperdine in Malibu. He decided to unite his pictures of the flags with photos from the major newspapers on September 12 and 13, 2001, that his wife had kept as pieces of history to show their grandchildren.
"I wanted to give something back to Pepperdine after what they've done for the community with the flags tribute," he said, before he and Wilburn unveiled Flags, 9/11.
"The September 11 tribute is one of my favorite Pepperdine contributions to the community," says Angela Hawken, associate professor of public policy. "Having this tribute take center stage in our building is fitting, particularly given that the Heroes Garden is just a few steps away. It's a very appropriate piece to be hanging in our lobby."
A widely shown and collected artist, Weingarten’s current exhibit, “The Portrait Unbound,” is on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, which is built around pieces using the same techniques as the new work to be unveiled at the School of Public Policy. He was recently featured at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and at the Kodak headquarters in New York. Another Weingarten collection is scheduled for opening at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., this summer. A detailed interview with Robert Weingarten about his current exhibit at the High Gallery can be viewed here.
Flags, 9/11 will be on permanent display in the School of Public Policy's Henry and Virginia Braun Center lobby. For more information, contact the School of Public Policy at (310) 506-7490, or visit the school's Web site.