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Art Icon Reaches Out to Victims Through His Work

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2002 – Popular artist Peter Max has been using his work as a means of giving to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the Pentagon and New York.

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Paul Haselbush (left), DoD's director of real estate and facilities, thanks artist Peter Max for his donation of six posters to be displayed in the rebuilt portion of the Pentagon. Max is donating all proceeds from the sale of these posters to Sept. 11 victims' funds. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

After the attacks, Max designed six posters to sell to raise money for victims' funds. He was at the Pentagon today to present prints of those six posters to hang in the rebuilt section of the building.

Peter Max first rose to prominence in the 1960s as a proponent of Pop Art. His use of bold colors led to his work being featured on national magazines, album covers and even on the Yellow Pages. Max also designed the posters for Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993.

Max considered the attacks a personal affront. The New York-based artist said his first reaction was to rush to Ground Zero and help out any way he could.

He and "about half a dozen fellows were going to go meet up with Rudy Giuliani and lift rocks, anything we could do to help," Max said.

It didn't take the group long to figure out members of the public weren't being allowed near the World Trade Center site. One of his friends suggested they reach out through art.

"Every day for the next six days I created a poster," Max said.

In another week the posters were scanned, printed and for sale through Max's Web site, www.PeterMax.com. They sell for $75 each and $150 for a signed, personalized print.

"They cost $150 a piece," Max said, "and $145 of that goes to the victims' funds." So far, he added, the prints have raised "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Today's ceremony was held in the Pentagon's "America's Heroes Memorial," which has been built at the point the plane hit the building.

Max said he had mixed emotions of being at the site. "It's really hard to describe what my thoughts are," he said. "There's a certain amount of pride that this is the center of American power. At the same time there's sadness about the things that happened."'

The artist isn't content to rest on his laurels. He's still looking for ways to help the Sept. 11 victims. Max's next project will be to paint portraits of the victims and some of the rescue workers who risked and lost so much on Sept. 11.

He said he's painting the portraits to honor "the great American heroes that they are."

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageOne of six posters designed by artist Peter Max to raise money for Sept. 11 victims' funds.  
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