As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is upon us there are no end of articles, shows and retrospectives. Although each of us has a story and each of us has a perspective, as my readers will undoubtedly know my fascination with art is how it reflects the people and the time in which it is made. The vast array of art and words that are written today will be forgotten in a few months and a new event will fill our daily lives.
So how do we remember? What will continue to persist for our children and our children's children. The past week around the New York area there has been a flurry of activity in every city park and every town square. Volunteer groups and firemen are busily cleaning up their 9/11 memorials in preparation of Sunday's services. I have to admit that I had never really noticed these memorials before. It turns out that my town has three. With only the passage of one decade they have become as ubiquitous and invisible as WWI memorials with their army surplus howitzers.
The art of the 9/11 memorial is different because the event is different. Those that died (in every town and hamlet within a 20 mile radius of Manhattan ) were civilians. These were not soldiers who died valiantly for the survival of democracy. They were not killed on the field of battle to defend the American Republic. The 9/11 memorial functions as memorial and shrine. Most striking is the memorial as reliquary. Pieces of the World Trade Center have been dispersed around the region to be artfully arranged into neo-modern henges of broken stone and steel. Others are modest plaques copying the memorials of the previous centuries, merely listing the lost, with no aesthetic intrusion into the landscape.
However we remember the events of ten years ago it strikes me that these public creations will be the only day-to-day reminder for my children. As she grows up, and for generations to come, they will be a permanent part of the landscape, in the background of soccer games and passed a thousand times on the way to the library. What will these objects say about us in 100 years? It is obvious that they will reveal far more about those that survived than those that died.
The following images are of just a few local 9/11 memorials around the New York Region.
Pearl River, NY 9/11 Memorial
Closter, NJ 9/11 Memorial
Glen Rock, NJ 9/11 Memorial
Huntington, NY 9/11 Memorial
Westfield, NJ 9/11 Memorial
Ridgewood, NJ 9/11 Memorial
Morris County NJ 9/11 Memorial