This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a tragic event that is forever embedded in the American consciousness. “9/11 was one of those events where you had a way of approaching life before 9/11 and a way of approaching life after…..That day changed the world.” So much so, that as long as there are people alive with personal memories, there will be people who say that you shouldn’t be making art of it.
But what is art’s responsibility to 9/11? Is tragedy the province only of those who experience it, or does it belong to those who shape it as well? Whose grief is it, anyway? I think art can be a solace. I don’t paint, nor sculpt but it’s always a solace to me.
The arts extend beyond their capacity to entertain, provide sensory stimulation or simply captivate. Art can also become a tool for healing old wounds, helping us remember past tragedies while finding some solace and even hope in expression. But while art can be a solace or an inspiration, a spur or an escape, it is first and last a means of self-expression. The artist’s obligation is to produce the best work for the artist. Artists are the observers of our culture. They can neither simply forget nor find a cure; rather, they need to ignite new dialogues and explore greater avenues for connection and understanding.
The last week amongst other things, a lot of my time has been spent thinking about how all this relates to art and researching art and healing. I came across a nonprofit organization, Creative Mind and was truly taken back by them. So much so, I devoted a blog entirely to them as I was that impressed. Let me also say that Kings Wood Art has nothing to do with Creative Mind, but I wanted to share with my readers an extraordinary company. Creative Time, an avatar of art in the city shows that a single organization can make it possible for thousands of artists to present awe-inspiring works that engage, taunt, seduce, enliven, and transform a city. In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Creative Time is proud to be partnering with Artspace on a limited edition series of prints by artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda.
There is perhaps no better opportunity to emphasize Creative Time’s adament belief in the power of art to bring people together, to address the complexity of a community’s viewpoints, shape our culture and even to heal through art than through projects they developed in the aftermath of 9/11. For everyone who lived in the city, as well as those across the country, the question was “how do we address this catastrophe?” For Creative Time, the question was more reflexive. Their question was how can we as an arts organization adequately address our collective anger, loss and suffering? How can art be used to serve the community, address its needs and start the process of healing.
The best-known work about 9/11 emerged shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center. This is Tribute in Light, involving artists Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda. Since 2002, a vast network of spotlights has been temporarily installed downtown, first during the six-month anniversary of 9/11 and then annualy thereafter: two shafts of light are projected upward to produce a shimmering ethereal surrogate for the absent toweres. The white luminescence not only replaces the void in New York’s skyline with a sense of memory and the possibility of hope and rebirth. It is also a moving commemoration of the thousands who died. Here, an artistic gesture supplied the ultimate response to tragedy. Immaterial, yet powerfully resonant, Tribute in Light reaches out into the stratoshphere – the ultimate symbol of how Creative Time’s unique approach to public art is capable of something both profound and transformative.
In an effort to bring some healing to the community, Creative Time, along with Artspace is presenting limited editions for sale that speak to the tragedy that left nearly 3,000 dead and the country scarred. Beginning TODAY, four exclusive, limited edition renderings of Creative Time’s Tribute in Light project, each priced at $150, are available for purchase on Artspace.com. Proceeds from the sale of these gorgeous works benefit Creative Time as well as the Municipal Art Society’s campaign to extend Tribute’s presence at Ground Zero beyond September 11th of this year, when it is currently scheduled to close.
Click here to get $15 off your first order, and check out the editions.
*campaign = http://mas.org/programs/tributeinlight/
*here = http://bit.ly/r0stpI