Back in 2011, exactly a decade after the tragedy, a contemporary art show titled “September 11” was open in MoMA PS1. While many other cultural institutions across the States exhibited heavy sentimentalism in their commemorative events, Peter Eleey, curator of the ‘September 11’, adopted a much sober approach, deliberately shying away from any images of the towers, the plane, the smoke and the wreckage. Instead, the exhibition presents only one work made in direct response to the attacks by Ellsworth Kelly, in which the artist proposes to cover the Ground Zero with a simple mound of glass, and another 70 works by 41 artists largely made prior to the event.
Images of the attacks, Eleey argues, ‘were political images from the moment of their making’ and that is why they were not included. The gesture of remembrance without subsuming oneself under the mainstream rhetoric of jingoism was something the show had taught us.
Here is a review of the exhibition by Steven Stern from Frieze.com.
Ellsworth Kelly, Ground Zero, 2003, image courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art