In “After the 11th,” I’ve identified the psychological, emotional and intellectual states I’ve gone through since September 11, 2001 and have created a piece of art corresponding to each one.
NYC August, 2002
The first piece I completed was in late September: “Resentment,” a noose made out of approximately 180 U.S. dollar bills. Next came the word painting “Shell shock,” which reads “Airplanes going over has become the new sound of screeching tires,” followed by an enormous ransom note from terrorists to us entitled “Violation.”
Having completed these three pieces, the overall concept for this body of work started to become apparent to me. I began thinking about the psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her 5 now-famous states of grief for those faced with the death of a loved one: “denial,” “anger,” “bargaining,” “depression,” and “acceptance” and I realized that I was following a similar path. So using Kubler-Ross as a conceptual springboard, I began to identify all the feelings I was having in the aftermath of this defining moment in American history and in my life as an artist living in downtown Manhattan. The list grew and grew, encompassing all the feelings I had as a New Yorker, as a father, as a political skeptic, as a liberal, and as someone who truly appreciates the rewards and responsibilities of being an American.
The one thing that each of these pieces have in common is sincerity: “Admiration of bravery” is a sincere admiration for the bravery of those who gave their lives attempting to save others in the World Trade Centers. “Dread,” “Patriotism,” and “Confusion” are just as sincere as “The feeling that capitalism is perversely indomitable” and “The feeling that the war effort is being marketed to us.” Having a critical view of my government has never stopped my from loving my country, a sentiment that can be found in “A feeling of suppression,” a t-shirt stamped with the motto “dissent keeps America strong.”
As I near completion of this very personal body of work and prepare to exhibit it, a question pops into my head “who is this show for? who is the audience?” And I’ve realized that the ideal audience to appreciate it to its fullest are my fellow New Yorkers. I hope that they will come and appreciate this show and maybe even do as I have and understand a little better some of the feelings we’ve all experienced after the 11th.