World’s Tallest Disaster

Media - 1974.91 - SAAM-1974.91_1 - 4633
Copied Roger Brown, World's Tallest Disaster, 1972, oil and magma on canvas, 72 1848 in. (183.1122.0 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1974.91

Artwork Details

Title
World’s Tallest Disaster
Artist
Date
1972
Dimensions
72 1848 in. (183.1122.0 cm.)
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums
Mediums Description
oil and magma on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure group
  • Disaster — fire
  • Cityscape — time — night
  • Architecture Exterior — commercial — skyscraper
Object Number
1974.91

Artwork Description

In World's Tallest Disaster, fire engulfs the upper floors of a skyscraper. People seen through illuminated windows gesticulate wildly, frantic and full of panic. Just a few floors below, others remain calm, blissfully unaware of the terror above.

Known for his trademark silhouettes and flattened, colorful landscapes, Roger Brown was inspired by the work of self-taught artists, advertisements, and comics in his desire to create art that would be accessible to everyone. In his series of imagined disasters, natural forces wreak havoc on urban skyscrapers, as these symbols of modern cities descend into chaos