Seven years ago today. Hard to believe it’s been seven years.
I know we all remember too well where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. And watching the coverage today, the feelings and emotions come flooding back. Strange, it just doesn’t seem like seven years.
Through my artistic interests, I’ve run across ties into world events. Strangely enough, the first time I had heard of the Taliban, I was reading a copy of “Art News” at the job I held at the time. It was a short article about a small sect of religious zealots that had blown up these amazing Buddha statues. I remember at the time, thinking how twisted people must be to destroy such amazing and ancient works. Little did I know they were capable of so much more evil.
Among the almost 3,000 lives that were extinguished seven year ago, $100 million in art was lost as well.
Right, I know that art is meaningless when compared to a human life, and that’s not my point here. Art goes on as does our lives as survivors. Another painting can be painted, another sculpture sculpted; not so with the human lives that were snuffed out on that day.
Still, it’s rather astounding how much great art was contained in those two buildings in lower Manhattan. Among the 9/11 art losses:
– “The World Trade Center Tapestry” by Spanish Artist Joan Miro – one of two the artist ever created.
-“The Entablature Series” Roy Lichtenstein
– Paintings by Pablo Picasso and David Hockney were also destroyed
– B Gerald Cantor, the namesake of Cantor Fitzgerald, was the largest private collector of Rodin sculptures. A portion of this collection, some 300 sculptures as well as drawings, was lost in the attack.
– “Recollection Pond” – a tapestry by Romare Bearden
– approximately 40,000 negatives of photography by Jacques Lowe documenting the Presidency of John F. Kennedy
“Bent Propeller” by Alexander Calder, a 25 foot sculpture that was exhibited in the courtyard, survived, although it was crushed by falling debris. Though most of the bent remains is co-mingled with portions of the debris of the WTC, Calder’s grandson has vowed to restore it if enough pieces are found. It is thought that the rest of the sculpture is at the Fresh Kills site on Staten Island, the location where theWTC debris was relocated and sorted. There is conjecture about the restoration of the sculpture — some think it should be restored, some think it shouldn’t – while others think the current condition of the piece is now an unintentional work, created by tragedy. I guess I find myself siding on the final of the three views. The event marked the piece with a brushstroke of history, if you will.
Calder sculpture before 9/11
Calder sculpture after 9/11
Perhaps the best known piece of art from the WTC is “The Sphere” by German artist Fritz Koenig — it survived although it is badly mangled and is now on display, dents and all, with an eternal flame at the 9/11 memorial in Battery Park.
The Sphere after 9/11
From the artistic standpoint, I always seem to view things a little differently.
Call it looking for something hopeful and beautiful out of something so horrible — perhaps that’s a poor choice of words — but the way I see it, out of great tragedy, comes some of the great art of the world — that’s the thought that crossed my mind as I immersed myself in news coverage.
I came across this link today, buried in the stories on the internet — it’s a slideshow of many of the memorials made from the steel from the World Trade Center — and it’s worth a look.
And, of course, as you view all this art, and all the aftermath, take time to remember the people who lost their lives in the tragedy.