Saturday, September 10, 2016

Five Years More

Manju Shandler, Gesture
American, 2001-2003
Five years ago I acknowledged the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on my city and on Washington.  It is now five years later and, in the way of humans, another significant marker anniversary is here.  There has been a great deal of progress down in lower Manhattan since 2011.  The Freedom Tower is open, the Memorial Museum is open, you no longer need tickets to approach the plaza where the voids are, with their rims listing the names of the dead, even the long anticipated transportation hub has opened.  But the sadness still remains whenever we think of it. 

In my tenth anniversary article I mused on the art produced after the event.  There have been a few small exhibitions of work, but this anniversary has finally brought an exhibition home to the site.  The National September 11th Memorial and Museum will host its first ever temporary art exhibition, entitled Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11.  It will feature the reaction to the event from 13 artists, including some that were mentioned in my 2011 article.  All the artists selected had close connections to the event.  

The exhibition will open on September 12th.  I have been to the memorial, finding and offering a prayer for the repose of one of my former co-workers, who had just left my company for a job at Cantor-Fitzgerald, where almost everyone who was at work that day died.  But I have been unsure about visiting the museum, unsure of my own ability to deal with the emotions it raises.  This may give me the impetus I need to finally visit.
Donna Levinstone, Eternal Rest
American, 2001
New York Historical Society, Gift of Donna Levinstone

In addition, the New York Historical Society is displaying a special installation of photographs of the World Trade Center taken over the entire life cycle of the towers and their aftermath.  Called World Trade Center Four Decades: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara.  It will run until “late September”. 

Five years ago I speculated that what appeared to be a lack of visual response to the attacks was due to its still close proximity.   Perhaps the last five years have provided enough perspective for us to look back with a little less pain. 
Camilo Jose Vergara, Towers of Light from New Jersey
American, 2002

© M. Duffy, 2016

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