September 11 Visual and Performance Art

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Kevin Ryan created a mosaic out of the portraits he saw in the "missing" signs posted after the attacks.

Artist Kevin Ryan’s response to the World Trade Center attacks was concrete and immediate. Ryan photographed posters of the missing posted by families all over the city, and created a mosaic out of their portraits.

Painter Sarah Yuster, whose depiction of the pre-September 11 skyline had long been popular, particularly on Staten Island, returned to paint a firefighter and the post-disaster cityscape.

An already poster-filled wall fills in the Twin Tower cutouts that were plastered all over New York City in Hans Haacke's "Poster Project."

Others expressed their feeling more abstractly. "Grace," by Pietro Costa features a tower of concentric neon circles. Some of the thousands of pieces of paper at the base bear the names of those killed in the attacks, while others are blank and so represent the unknown number of homeless and undocumented victims of the tragedy.

Perhaps most strikingly though, is that much of the post September 11 art seeks to turn viewers into creators.

The week after the attacks, Margaret Kerr devised "September 11: In Ashes," an installation in the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York, that asked visitors to use a gray ribbon to tie a personal message to a brick. Together the participants were building a memorial wall to commemorate the tragedy.

The List


Before and After 9/11 James Gilroy

Gilroy's pre-September 11 paintings show an uncanny resemblance to the events he witnessed that day. He returned months later to paint images of the emotional aftermath.

Dactyl Foundation for the Arts & Humanities , 64 Grand Street Through September 28 Call (212) 219-2344 for more information

Firefighters' Commemorative
Sarah Yuster
Yuster's painting is a full-length, iconic portrait of a firefighter exhibited
alongside a painting of the transformed skyline. A painting of the horizon before
September 11 completes the exhibition.

Civil Court of the City of New York, Castleton and Bement Avenues, Staten Island
Opens on September 13 and will be on display indefinitely.

Forever Tall
Hope Gangloff and Jason Search
This is a building sized mural of the New York skyline, with the shape of the
World Trade Centers included in a floral pattern.

6th Street and Cooper Square

Mural for Police Department Mounted Unit
Marybeth Milius

The mural, on the barn housing horses of Mounted Police Unit D, is in Pelham Bay Park. According to an article in the Bronx Times, the artist painted the Manhattan skyline with the sun rising behind it to "offer hope."

"September 11" Ilya Shenker
Shenker will present
his painting as part of the anniversary event "Artists of the Russian-American Community Respond to September 11."

Cultural Center for Soviet Refugees, 45 East 33rd Street September 11, 6:30 p.m. Call (212) 686-0199 for more information

September 11, 2001: "Tragedy, Honor and Memory" Bruno Surdo

This 35-foot mural was originally on display at Chicago's Daley Plaza. According to the Associated Press, Surdo, a Chicago artist, incorporates debris, such as business cards and letterhead and concrete dust, in the painting which depicts World Trade Center, victims, survivors, rescuers and somber Americans. ``I felt it (the debris) would just add to more of what occurred,'' Surdo said. ``There was some connection from the work to the actual site."

Using Double Vision

In commemoration of the September 11 tragedy, seven painters attempt to see the world anew.

Organization of Independent Artists
Various exhibition spaces September 9 to December 27 Call (212) 219-9213 for more information


A Place in the Sky
Flo Fox

Photographs of the construction of the World Trade Center.

Abrams Art Center, Henry Street Settlement ( ), 466 Grand
Street Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Call 212 598-0400 for more

Faces of Ground Zero
Joe McNally

85 life-sized portraits of Ground Zero rescue workers, survivors and family
members of the victims of September 11, taken by Life magazine photographer Joe

Rockefeller Center September 11 to 23

49 of 2870 - A Memory of September 11
Kevin Ryan

This virtual exhibit displays a mosaic of portraits of 49 victims of September 11, taken from the photos that were posted on the streets of New York in the weeks after the attacks.

Here is New York

A "Democracy of Photographs," the project collects pictures that people have taken, with the only requirement being that the photos relate to September 11. Entries are scanned and sold to the public for $25 per print, and have been collected into a book. Proceeds go to the Children's Aid Society WTC Relief Fund.

Scalo Project Space, 560 Broadway, #301 September 5 to November 2, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Other exhibitions are taking place in cities throughout the United States and abroad.)

Martha Cooper

In an online exhibit, photographer Cooper documents the spontaneous, temporary memorials andexpressions of support for rescue workers that appeared in New York City in the days following September 11.

A Missing Piece
Cheryl Sorg

This piece, wrote Joanne Silver in the Boston Herald, has the handmade look of a quilt, but with little squares of paper held together by tape, instead of stitched patches of fabric. When backlit, the image reveals 3,062 tiny candles: one for each person who died in the September 11 attacks.
Gary Suson
Works in this virtual exhibit by Gary Suson document September 11 and the months
afterward, as workers struggled with the recovery effort at Ground Zero.


Flux Factory

An on-line project, consisting of portraits and testimonies, documenting people's
emotional responses to September 11th.

Brooklyn Working Artists Coalition 20th Anniversary Outdoor
Sculpture Show

More than 30 sculptors from around the country have contributed work. According to the group's web site, many of this year's artists are addressing September 11th either directly with tributes and memorials, or indirectly with sculpture that suggests a rekindling of hope.

Empire/Fulton Ferry State Park (Water Street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge)
Until September 15 Call (718) 596-2507 for more information

Drawn Together
Joan Waters

This project aims to help people understand the enormity of the World Trade Center tragedy by asking participants to create a life size drawing of the World Trade Center, done in chalk, like the outline of a victim at a crime scene. Place is provided for comments. A web site provides plans.

In a radio report, commentator Charles Osgood said that people have drawn the images on parking lots, at community colleges, schools, and parks. Their goal, he said, is to create "a place where people discuss and contemplate the disasters through a creative physical experience."

Even the Birds were on Fire
Artists Respond to Terrorism
Brooklyn Artists Alliance

This exhibit includes around a huge collage, four artists books, photographic installations of the posters of missing people, and dramatic detritus from the "even the birds were on fire" performance tour. The exhibit is accompanied by an audio installation of location sound from September 11 and texts by poets and political commentators including Amiri Baraka and Noam Chomsky. The sounds of planes, helicopters and military jets circle the exhibition space† relentlessly creating an atmosphere of anxiety reminiscent of 9/11. The work, which has been performed throughout the country, attempts to evoke the emotional atmosphere of the bombing of the World Trade Center and its aftermath. Visitors to the installation are invited to leave memorial objects or write their commentaries about 9/11, the ongoing war, and the exhibition itself onto a paper wall. These offerings will be incorporated into the exhibit and the performance.

The performance, wrote Bridget O. Shea in the Columbia Chronicle Online involves Marshall Weber, one of the creators, "covered in white dust, looking dazed as he stumbled about, with sounds of planes, screaming, and voices on loudspeakers from overhead. . . . The performance ended with Weber, who was a witness, walking into the audience, burning his own hair to convey what the smell of the disaster was like."

Pietro Costa

A tower of light, made of concentric neon circles with 3,000 pieces of paper at its base, bearing the names of those killed in the attacks. Interspersed with those names are blank pieces of paper, representing the unknown number of homeless and the undocumented victims of September 11. Writing in the New York Times, critic Grace Glueck ( said the "ethereal looking structure" oddly evokes death while also serving as a memorial for September 11.

In Memoriam: September 11, 2001
Moshe Gershuni

Etchings from the Israeli artist's Kaddish series feature one of the first four words from a verse in the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of personal loss.

Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue September 11 only Call (212) 423-3200 for more information

In Memory: Exploring the Repercussions
Michele Pred

Her work includes a painted airplane wing, dedicated to the passengers of the Sand Francisco bound United Flight 93, one of the hijacked planes, and sculptures created from objects confiscated at airport security checkpoints.

In Memory: The Art of Afterward
The Legacy Project

Including works by artists from 16 countries on five continents, the exhibit displays art related to the themes of loss and remembrance, tracing the process of trauma as it changes with time.

Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 135 East 22 Street, September 6 to October 3, 2002, daily from 12-5 (Thursday, 12-7)

Microviews: Artists' Documentation of the World Trade Center

From 1997-2001, nearly 140 artists used temporarily vacant space in Tower One of the World Trade Center as studio space. This exhibit features photographs, drawings, and video and sound recordings made by artists and offers a counterpoint to the iconic public images of the Twin Towers that emerged last fall.

Urban Center Galleries, The Municipal Art Society of New York, 457 Madison Avenue Until October 10 Call (212) 753-1816 for more information

Poster Project
Hans Haacke

This project by Haacke, described by Artnet News as a "radical conceptual artist," consists of a series of white posters with negative space in the shape of the World Trade Centers. These were placed throughout the city so that the walls or posters behind Haacke's work would fill the negative spaces, showing that New York is now seen only after being filtered through the memory of September 11. The project was installed from March 11th to March 25. An online site has a downloadable version, where the negative space is filled by the contents of the user's desktop.

September 11: Artists Respond

In more than 60 panels, each nine by nine inches, artists from across the nation remember the catastrophic loss of life on September 11.

American Craft Museum, 40 West 53rd Street September 11 to October 20. Admission is free on September 11 Call (212) 956-3690 for more information

September 11: In Ashes
Margaret Kerr

Launched the week after September 11, this installation was intended to allow people to actively commemorate the tragedy. Visitors to the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York, last fall were encouraged to add a brick with a personal message to the installation, "building" the work themselves. Within a few days of the installation, two dozen people had added messages. "I felt a tremendous honor," Kerr told Newsday in September 2001. "I hope people will come who don't personally know someone who is lost, but will feel welcome and free and moved to write something down." The bricks with gray ribbons
joined some 400 bricks with black ribbons commemorating AIDS victims.

Skyline Remembered, Skyline Sought John Digby
Twenty collages by Digby reflect on the pain of September 11.

Russian American Cultural Center , 55 John Street, 14th Floor September 10 to October 8 Call (212) 744-5168 for more information

Tribute in Light

From March 11 through April 13th, 2002, two large beams of white light were projected into the sky in lower Manhattan. Describing the project, Gustavo Bonevardi, a member of the Creative Team that designed it, said at the time, "This really has become very much a memorial to those who lost their lives. The idea of light is almost like the souls of those who died rising up to heaven. At the same time, it still does have a double meaning. It is a memorial, but I hope that it's also light as life, light as hope, light as renewal."

Unity Canvas

Some 300 works from around the world present a collective artistic response to September 11.
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 135 Broadway, Brooklyn September 7 to September 29.



Marathon of reflective dance and performance art brings together 34 artists from across the spectrum. Performances will be given every hour on the hour between 6 and 10 p.m. on September 11. In each hour, there will be 50 minutes of performance, followed by a 10 minute break.

Dixon Place at Vineyard 26, 309 E. 26th Street. For more information, call (212) 532-1546

Complacency: A Renegade Action Kat Skraba

In this work, the Los Angeles performance artist, gagged with an American flag, lies on a military stretcher and is placed on a side walk in Hollywood. Skraba says his work is intended to cite U.S. complacency and political and militaristic interventions abroad as one of the many reasons for the September 11 attacks.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company

This tribute for September 11 and in honor of what would have been the 90th birthday of Cunningham's musical collaborator John Cage was performed at the Evening Stars festival in Battery Park. In its review of the hour-long piece, the New York Times said, "The performance was especially lively and varied, ranging from the space-filling circles one remembered from Mr. Cunningham's Oceaní to a cascade of wonderfully
executed duets and group sections in which dancers continually replaced one another. Mr. Cunningham's bow at the end drew lusty cheers."

Part of the Evening Stars Music and Dance Festival, a series of free performances a number of dance companies, including the Noh Drama Theater of Japan, that pay tribute to the September 11 tragedy. Performances are from 7 to 9 p.m. in Battery Park.

For more information, call (212) 219-9401

Laurie Anderson

The almost two-hour piece by the performance artist weaves together her personal stories with more public stories of loss and remembrance, moving from accounts of mummification in ancient Egypt to Andersonís memories of a childhood hospital stay. More minimalist that many of her works, "Happiness" focuses on sounds and words. "A resident of New York City, Anderson has experienced close-up the destruction, losses, and aftermath of the September attacks," critic Krista L. May wrote in PopMatters. "Happiness gives us insights into an artist's attempt to acknowledge these painful events -- moments that are at once both personal and extremely private -- and to see the impact of these events on her worldview and imagination."

Out of Place
Valerie Norman
Norman, a New York dancer, choreographed this dance quartet dedicated to the people and families who were displaced by the attacks on 9/11.

At Williamsburg Art and Historical Center on Sept. 14. 135 Broadway , Brooklyn
Contact: (718) 486-7372 or (718) 486-6012.

United We Fall
Susan McKeever/ Williamsburg Dance Company
An exploration of dance and movement reacting to the patriotic response following 9/11.
At Williamsburg Art and Historical Center on Sept. 14. 135 Broadway , Brooklyn
Contact: (718) 486-7372 or (718) 486-6012.

At Williamsburg Art and Historical Center on Sept. 14.135 Broadway , Brooklyn
Contact: (718) 486-7372 or (718) 486-6012.