The School of Visual Arts presents “here is new york: Revisited,” an exhibition that pays tribute to “here is new york,” the impromptu display of photographs in a vacant storefront in SoHo that was a collective creative response to the devastation of 9/11. Featuring some 300 of the 5000 images submitted by 3000 photographers of all walks of life, the exhibition captures a community’s attempt to grapple with events that continue to haunt both the city and the nation. In observance of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, “here is new york: Revisited” will be on view at the Westside Gallery, 133/141 West 21 Street, New York City, through September 17, 2011; a free reception for the show will be held on September 9, from 6 – 8pm.
After the first plane struck on September 11, SoHo resident Michael Shulan responded by taping a flea market photo of the World Trade Center to the window of a building he owned at 116 Prince Street. Within days he and some friends and colleagues—among them, Charles Traub, chair of the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at SVA—resolved to invite all New Yorkers to share their images of 9/11 and bring them together for public viewing. An open call was issued and soon after photographs of the attacks and their aftermath began to stream in from photojournalists, emergency responders, schoolchildren, passersby, tourists and others.
With a corps of SVA students and other volunteers, on September 25, 2001 the original exhibition, “here is new york,” opened with a few dozen photographs clipped to wires crisscrossing the walls. The response was overwhelming, with crowds lining up down the block to get in the show, which was extended into the winter. The organizers arranged to scan the submissions and sell the prints for $25 each, with proceeds going to the Children’s Aid Society to benefit the children who were among the catastrophe’s victims. After closing in early 2002, having raised nearly $1 million, “here is new york” traveled to American cities from coast to coast, followed by stops in Berlin, London, Paris and Tokyo, among others.
“Direct without being voyeuristic, these images convey an array of different responses to the tragedy, bear witness to what seemed unimaginable and memorialize both the people who perished and the rescue workers who served so heroically,” says Traub. For viewers who are too young to remember the events of 9/11, the exhibition offers a kaleidoscopic eyewitness account of that historic day.
For more information and to view more photos from the show, visit SVA.edu.
Images: (top) Photo by Patrick Witty. (bottom) Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik. Courtesy of the artists.