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Remembering 9/11 on view at International Center of Photography

NEW YORK, N.Y.- In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the International Center of Photography (ICP) is collaborating with the National September 11 Memorial Museum (9/11 Memorial Museum) on an exhibition of photography and video that addresses the issues of memory and recovery from disaster and explores how New Yorkers and volunteers from across the U.S. responded to this inconceivable tragedy. Remembering 9/11 will be on view at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) from September 9, 2011 to January 8, 2012.

“On the occasion of this important anniversary of the events of 9/11, ICP is pleased to partner with the 9/11 Memorial Museum on an exhibition that honors those who were lost and celebrates the sacrifices of many to recover from those violent acts,” said Willis E. Hartshorn, ICP Ehrenkranz Director. “Photography is, in this case, both a documentary tool to record this process of regeneration and a medium of memorialization and healing.”

Focusing on how firefighters, transit workers, police officers, construction workers, artists, photographers, and World Trade Center (WTC) neighbors worked together in the aftermath of the attacks, the exhibition will include five parts: Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17, a major installation by Francesc Torres; photographs from Eugene Richards’ Stepping Through the Ashes; a five-channel video installation, cedarliberty, by Elena del Rivero and Leslie McCleave; Above Ground Zero, photographs and proof sheets by Gregg Brown; and excerpts from here is new york: a democracy of photographs.

“The work in Remembering 9/11 documents a wealth of different experiences and offers various perspectives on the tragedy and its aftermath. It is the first time some of the work will be exhibited and accessible to the public. Only a handful of Gregg Brown’s extraordinary aerial views of the WTC site, which were commissioned by government agencies right after the attacks, has been seen by general viewers. And Francesc Torres’ installation will be a unique opportunity to see the WTC artifacts that were housed in Hangar 17,” said ICP Curator Carol Squiers, who organized the exhibition.

“For years, Hangar 17 has been a repository for stories of loss, courage, heroism, and resiliency that have been told through the recovered WTC steel beams and damaged vehicles,” said Joe Daniels, President and CEO, National September 11 Memorial & Museum. “A year from this year’s opening of the 9/11 Memorial, the world will be able to experience these historic artifacts in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Our collaboration with ICP offers a window onto the Museum exhibitions we are planning.”

Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17
Francesc Torres’ Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17 is a digital projection installation of 140 photographs taken of the more than 1,500 artifacts removed from the WTC site and preserved inside Hangar 17 at JFK Airport. In Hanger 17, the items were cleaned, catalogued, and arranged in the 80,000 square-foot space, with only a limited number of visitors seeing the collection over the years, including military and police officials and family members of the victims. In April 2009, Torres photographed the collection that had taken shape inside the hangar, including twisted steel beams, crushed emergency and civilian vehicles, the remains of an Alexander Calder sculpture, store merchandise and displays, ID badges, and huge objects dubbed “composites”— compressed fused pieces of building materials, some measuring as much as eight feet on a side and weighing an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 pounds.

“Torres spent five weeks at Hangar 17 in 2009, daily confronting the legacy of terror and the ghosts of Ground Zero,” said Alice M. Greenwald, Director, 9/11 Memorial Museum. “Through Torres’ eyes, we can see the potential for resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.”

The Torres work was commissioned for the 9/11 Memorial Museum in 2009. Many of the artifacts from Hangar 17 will be shown at the 9/11 Memorial Museum when it opens in September 2012.

Stepping Through the Ashes
Eugene Richards’ photographs in Stepping Through the Ashes evoke the mournful, confounded atmosphere in New York City in the weeks and months after 9/11. He recorded the crowds that gathered around Ground Zero; the families of people who died; the thousands of missingpersons posters that were put up by relatives and friends all over the city; the spontaneous memorials created in parks and on city streets; funerals and memorials for firefighters and policemen; and the rancid smoke, dust, and chaos of devastation and back-breaking labor at the WTC site itself.

Created by the artist Elena del Rivero and filmmaker Leslie McCleave, cedarliberty is a 23-minute synchronized fivechannel video constructed from footage that is a document as well as an homage to the enormous human effort that was mobilized at Ground Zero. Del Rivero’s studio and home were in a heavily damaged building on Cedar Street that overlooked the WTC site. In early 2002, she bought a video camera to record for insurance purposes the mountain of dust, business documents, personal items, and other debris that blew into her home from the collapsing towers. Soon she was drawn to the work that was going on outside her windows—the relentless motion of workers and machines as the site was excavated, searched for remains, and cleaned up. Del Rivero shot more than one hundred hours of videotape between February and August of 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency closed her building to begin decontamination.

Above Ground Zero
Although photography was strictly controlled at the WTC site after 9/11, some photographers, including Gregg Brown, were granted access. His was through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which hired him on September 15, 2001, to take aerial photographs of the site for the New York City Fire Department. Working for FEMA, and then for New York City’s Department of Design and Construction, the agency that oversaw the cleanup, Brown spent the next eight months making a systematic visual record of the work taking place at the site and the debris collection at the Fresh Kills Landfill. He photographed from a New York City Police Department helicopter flying over Lower Manhattan’s restricted airspace. The exhibition includes a group of his photographs and a selection from his 643 color negative proof sheets.

“Brown’s work reveals the slow, persistent progress at the site—once deemed a crime scene—over a sustained period of time as a kind of order was created out of complete disorder,” said Squiers.

Here is new york: a democracy of images
Drawing from ICP’s Permanent Collection, which holds two sets of prints from here is new york: a democracy of images, this exhibition contains 135 images concerning the WTC and the aftermath of the attacks, including photographs of the complex taken before 9/11, views of volunteers working at the site, and documentation of the many creative and moving memorials people from around the world made to express their thoughts and sentiments. The project was initiated shortly after the attacks, when a group of four friends and colleagues invited everyone—whether a professional or an amateur—to submit photographs related to the tragedy. The images were displayed in a storefront on Prince Street in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, which became a place where people gathered in the aftermath of 9/11. ICP sponsored a storefront showing of here is new york at 1105 Avenue of the Americas between 42nd and 43rd Streets (the current site of the new Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park) from January 11 through March 17, 2002. The New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West, New York, NY) will install works from its Here Is New York Collection in the Remembering 9/11 exhibition from September 8, 2011 through April 1, 2012. Visit for more information.

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