The disconnect between New Yorkers and the 9/11 Museum.
Pablo - so powerful, these words. The memories, the impact, and the places where the Museum tears at the fabric of New York. Thank you. And, just to ratify your concern, the film you watched "The Rise of Al Qaeda" is the same film that was controversial back in 2014. Despite calls for it's script to be reviewed - including a request at the meeting with the new President and CEO, there was an unequivocal statement that a review was not possible.
Thsnk you, Pablo, for directing your always thoughtful insights to the question of 9/11 and its lingering effects for New Yorkers and the need for a museum that plumbs the effects on those most intimately affected by that day. As a New Yorker working at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in DC at the time, the experience was very similar for those in DC. I noticed it first in the reaction of the students. The Corcoran was (and still is, though now another institution) across the street from the grounds of the White House. As soon as communication was possible after 11th, I reached out to friends and colleagues at Parsons and Cooper, the two art schools closest to the World Trade Center, to make sure they were safe. We stayed in close touch in the aftermath and noticed the same thing. Not surprisingly, our students were so profoundly affected by the direct experience they were not able to make work about it. In contrast, students from art colleges around the country quickly began making work that incorporated visual symbols and text about the attacks. Our students were initially baffled that others would assume ownership of an experience they had only observed through mediation. There was one exception. The 11th was the first meeting of a new program in photojournalism. Unbeknownst to me, the students in that class evacuated the building, and instead of going directly to housing or home as instructed, they walked across the bridge to Virginia and took the first shots of the Pentagon. Many of those photographs are now in the Library of Congress. I bring this up because the immediate and collective reaction of these students was to act in the confusion of the attack in a way they understood. However, months later when the LoC asked for their work to join the collection, most students were reticent to share the work, possibly for the same reasons their cohorts did not make work about the events in the months after. Finding a meaningful commemoration is difficult, both personally and publicly. It is still worth pursuing a recognition of the complex reactions and spirit of caring for others that briefly characterized the days after the attacks.
Hi Pablo, this was very moving for me to read. I am going to be writing about related things for my newsletter this week. Hoping you are well. Would love to meet up sometime. I'm in Manhattan on Thurs and Fri and otherwise over the river in Bklyn. Warmest, Jenny