Tuesday, September 6 - Saturday, September 17
here is new york: Revisited
A Tribute to the Landmark Photography Exhibition Following 9/11
September 6 - 17, 2011
Reception: Friday, September 9, 6-8pm
School of Visual Arts (SVA) 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, from September 6 - 17, 2011.
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.
The exhibition's title is borrowed from a 1949 essay by E.B. White, in which he writes, in reference to the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union, "The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sounds of the jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition."
The project's Web site, www.hereisnewyork.org, features the more than 5000 images submitted to the original exhibition and an exhibition chronology. Now part of the September 11 Web Archive of the Library of Congress, the site is no longer being updated. The accompanying publication, here is new york: a democracy of photographs (Scalo, 2002), with an introduction by Michael Shulan and nearly 900 selected images, is out of print but available in limited quantities from online retailers and booksellers.
The New York Historical Society is the principal repository for the "here is new york" archive of prints and ephemera. The administrative records for "here is new york," as well as two complete sets of prints, are held by the School of Visual Arts Archives.
"here is new york" was originally conceived and organized by photography editor and curator Alice Rose George and photographer Gilles Peress along with Shulan and Traub.
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