Daniel Heyman
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Word Download: Artist joins team documenting human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib
“Clean Up America”
Installation by Daniel Heyman
The Archive Space at Crane Arts
1400 North American Street, Philadelphia
September 1 – 30, 2006
Reception: September 15, 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Call 215-913-9663 for more info or visit http://www.danielheyman.com

July 21, 2006 - Philadelphia: Many artists have addressed the issue of the war and continuing presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, and the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib. Philadelphia artist Daniel Heyman had the unique opportunity to witness interviews with former detainees of Abu Ghraib when he traveled to Amman, Jordan this year as part of a team pursuing a class action suit on behalf of these prisoners. “Clean Up America,” an installation in The Archive Space at Crane Arts is part of the body of work that is the artist’s response to the issue and experience. The exhibition opens on September 1 with a reception on September 15 from 5:30 – 8 p.m., and continues through September 30.Gallery hours are Wed. – Sun., noon – 6 p.m. The gallery will also be open concurrent with Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe performances in the building. Call 215-913-9663 for more info. This exhibition is supported in part with a grant from the Independence Foundation.

Heyman traveled to Amman at the invitation of Philadelphia law firm Burke Pyle LLC to participate in interviews that the firm, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Detroit law firm Akeel and Valentine PLC, were conducting as they gathered evidence for a class action lawsuit on behalf of former detainees at Abu Ghraib. All of the Iraqi clients were tortured by their American captors and/or the translators working with the Americans, and none of the clients were ever formally accused of any crime. They have all been released.

Heyman was invited to witness the interviews in a visual medium. He created portraits of the Iraqis, and in cases when the clients feared to be identified, their interviewers. Working quickly by hand in the drypoint technique on copper plates used in printmaking, Heyman not only made portraits but transcribed parts of the translated testimonies by writing backwards on the plate. When he ran out of copper plates, Heyman switched to watercolor as his medium for the portraits.

“Clean Up America” will include multiple figures cast in soap, based on the now-familiar image from Abu Ghraib: a hooded man with outstretched hands with dangling electrical wires. The figures will be attached to a wall with long bolts. Two large-scale wall drawings – portraits of a man who was interviewed by the legal team in Amman and who has since been assassinated – are also a part of the piece and based on prints prepared by Heyman during the interviews.

In his online journal, Heyman writes, “I think that this work concerns a wider public then just myself and those few people I know interested in my work. I feel a responsibility to the people that gave me their testimony under pretty frightening conditions (many received death threats just for talking with Americans, and as I mentioned before one has been killed by an unidentified gunman) to get their first person stories out to as wide a public as possible.” More journal entries on the experience may be found at http://www.danielheyman.com/news.htm.

In addition to “Clean Up America,” Heyman is publishing, in an edition of thirty, the portraits and English translations of testimony prepared during his trip to Amman, as well as an edition of twelve that will include both the portraits and English and Arabic translations of the interviews. An artists’ book of woodblock prints based on the watercolor portraits is in progress. The AMJ Foundation and 5-County Arts Fund provided funding for these editions. Additional projects are in the works.

Daniel Heyman

Daniel Heyman, painter and printmaker, holds an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania (’91) and a BA cum laude from Dartmouth College (’85). His work has been shown in solo shows in New York at the 55 Mercer Gallery (four exhibitions) and Gallery B.A.I.; in Philadelphia at the Fleisher Art Memorial, Mangel Gallery (two exhibitions), Dolan/Maxwell Gallery, and the Philadelphia Art Alliance; at the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, MA; in Los Angeles at The Advocate Gallery at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Center; as well as in galleries in San Francisco, Hartford, and Sydney, Australia. His work is in many public and private collections including the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Hood Museum of Art, and the Portland (ME) Museum of Art.

Heyman’s work has been included in many group shows both regional and national including exhibitions at Moore College of Art (‘02, ‘04), The Fleisher Art Memorial (Challenge Exhibition ‘05), The Portland (ME) Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and Union College Art Gallery in New York State.  He has been awarded an AMJ Foundation Grant (’06), an Independence Foundation Grant (’05-’06), a 5 County Arts Fund Grant (’05), a PA Council on the Arts S.O.S. Grant (’05), a Professional Development Grant from The Rhode Island School of Design (‘05), a James B. Reynolds International Fellowship (France) from Dartmouth College (1986-7), and residencies at St. Michael’s College, (Colchester, VT, ‘04), the Nagasawa Art Park Printmaking Program (Japan, ‘02), and the Millay Colony for the Arts (Forest Fellow, ‘94). 

His work was featured in “Male Desire: Homosexual Desire in American Art,” (Harry Abrams, ‘05) written by the noted art historian Jonathan Weinberg, and has been reviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly, Artblog, The New York Times, The Hartford Current, France Ouest, and The Sydney Morning Herald, among others. He has organized numerous group exhibitions, including “Moku Hanga and Contemporary Art” (2006) at the Centre International des Arts Contemporain in Pont Aven, France, and “Out of Nagasawa: Japanese Technique Prints from Around the World” at 55 Mercer Gallery, New York, 2003. As a teacher, Heyman has lectured widely, often giving demonstrations of Japanese printmaking techniques, and has taught at many institutions including the Rhode Island School of Design; Tyler School of Art; The Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art in Pont Aven, France; Philadelphia University; and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Heyman is fluent in French, and lives with his partner in Philadelphia. Heyman currently teaches at RISD, Tyler School of Art and Swarthmore College.



Daniel Heyman

“Clean Up America”


September 1 – 30, 2006

Wednesday – Sunday, noon – 6 p.m.

Gallery open to public during Philadelphia Live Arts Festival

and Philly Fringe events at Crane Arts

Reception: Friday, September 15,  5:30 – 8 p.m.


The Archive Space at Crane Arts

1400 North American Street

Philadelphia, PA



215-913-9663 – public

215-219-9961 Maryann Devine – media





For more information and photo reproductions, please contact Daniel Heyman at 215-236-5236 or send email inquiries to daheyman@aol.com.