MoMA PS1 Announced September 11 Exhibit
MoMA PS1 announced a major exhibition reflecting upon the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ways that they have altered how we see and experience the world in their wake. Eschewing images of the attacks on 9/11, as well as art made directly in response, the exhibition provides a subjective framework within which to consider the attacks in New York and their aftermath. Organized by MoMA PS1 Curator Peter Eleey, September 11 will occupy the entire second floor of the museum, with additional works located elsewhere in the building and in the surrounding neighborhood. The exhibition will open on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, and will remain on view through January 9, 2012.
Since that morning, "September 11" has come to connote a broad swath of feelings and subjects that range from the personal to the national, while continuing to weigh upon the landscape of New York and its inhabitants, especially those directly affected by the attacks. Witnessed by an estimated 2 billion people, the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City were likely the most pictured disasters in history, yet 9/11 remains, a decade later, underrepresented in cultural discourse-particularly within the realm of contemporary art.
September 11 brings together more than 70 works by 41 artists in a range of mediums-many made prior to 9/11-to explore the attacks' enduring and far-reaching resonance. Curator Peter Eleey explains, "Even though the towers are gone, we see literal and figurative echoes of them everywhere, whether in the silhouettes of two parallel trees in an Alex Katz landscape, or in the variety of ways that our culture has changed in response to the attacks that brought them down." He continues, "The street shrines and spontaneous memorials that sprung up throughout the city after 9/11 remain unrivalled for me in their commemorative power. I hope this exhibition will offer another way of thinking about what happened and reflecting on the event's continued presence in our lives."
A Diane Arbus photograph of a newspaper blowing across a New York intersection at night, for example, assumes a haunting cast in the context of 9/11 (despite having been taken in the late 1950s), as does a series of pictures that John Pilson took in the World Financial Center in the late 1990s depicting intimate scenes of office life across the street from the World Trade Center towers. When Mary Lucier made Dawn Burn (1975), a video installation of a sunrise over the East River, the brightness of the sun rising in the sky scarred the camera's tube, leaving behind a dark burn in the image. The resulting installation is unsettlingly both an enactment of trauma and a representation of trauma's persistence in memory.