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9/11 Memorial Museum | © Tanenhaus/Flickr
9/11 Memorial Museum | © Tanenhaus/Flickr
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9/11 Memorial Museum Opens Its First Art Exhibition

Picture of Dana deLaski
Updated: 26 August 2016
On September 12th, one day after the 15-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the 9/11 Memorial Museum will open its very first art exhibition. The exhibition will be called Rendering The Unthinkable: Artists Respond To 9/11 and will showcase work by 13 different artists, illustrating their reactions to that day.

In past years, the museum has had numerous historical exhibitions, but this will be the first time it focuses solely on artwork. The show will be held in the special exhibits gallery, and it will be the first time this space has been used. The artworks will range in mediums, from painting and drawing to video and sculpture.

One of the works on display will be a bronze sculpture by Eric Fischl titled Tumbling Woman, on loan from The Whitney Museum of American Art. This sculpture was originally shown at the Rockefeller Center in 2002 where it was too painful for many viewers to look at and was eventually taken down.

“Tumbling Woman” by Eric Fischl | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum
‘Tumbling Woman’ by Eric Fischl | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Another of the works on display will be by Ejay Weiss and will mix ash from the site with black paint. The Blue Man Group – a New York-based performance group – is also showing a video in which papers fly through the air, reflecting the way paper blew from the twin towers down to their rehearsal space on September 11, 2001. The group also wrote a song in which they speak the words written on those papers that fell.

"9-11 Elegies (1)" by Ejay Weiss | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum
‘9-11 Elegies (1)’ by Ejay Weiss | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Incorporating art into the museum’s collection of historical artifacts is a way to potentially expand their audience. It also presents new perspectives on the attacks – not just the factual and the historical. Previously, the museum showed surveillance footage of the hijackers at the airport, posters about missing persons from the time, and other items that were often overwhelming for viewers to see. The museum’s director, Alice Greenwald, says the new art pieces are meant to be less intense for visitors. She hopes that the show will be more contemplative, and perhaps even show glimmers of hope that come from reflection.

'M’AHL' a work by Tobi Kahn | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum
‘M’AHL’ a work by Tobi Kahn | © 9/11 Memorial and Museum