Artists Seek To Fill 9/11 Voids

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By's Christine Lagorio.

On the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this weekend, New York City memorialized victims by ringing a bell at Ground Zero, reading names of the dead and offering countless prayer services — just as it did last year and the year before that. But a new cavern of remembrance appears to be opening up as the public continues to heal and art influenced by Sept. 11, 2001, is steaming out.

Galleries and museums in Lower Manhattan are opening to the public what seems to be the first major outpouring of 9/11-inspired print and performance art.

Much of this outpouring can be attributed to the artistic community built by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a nonprofit arts-funding group that was housed in the World Trade Center and lost one of its artists when the towers collapsed. To rekindle memory and awaken ideas this year, the council hosted an arts summit over the Sept. 11 weekend and opened art shows in several major exhibition spaces.
"There are many ways of remembering a day — the reading of names, tributes, those are all important ways — but there are cultural ways that make us remember and reflect enough to work to make sure history doesn't repeat," Radhika Subramanian, director of cultural programs for the center, told Subramanian organized the weekend summit of more than 60 artists and cultural leaders.

One of those featured in the center's exhibit "What Comes After: Cities, Art and Recovery" is performance artist Pia Lindman. Four years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, Lindman saw from Lower Manhattan the horror of towering flames and mass death after terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center. The attack played out like a movie, but then 9/11 ripped into her life.

Lindman, a downtown New York resident, was told hours after the attack that she would not be able to return to her apartment — indefinitely. As an evacuee who lost a colleague that day, Lindman knew 9/11 was affecting her life, and would, therefore, affect her art.

So did singer Athena Masci.

"Of course 9/11 affected me heavily," Masci said after performing a song she wrote about the psychological stresses encountered by Iraq war soldiers. She performed as part of the September 11 Musical Celebration. "I think any artist living in New York then would say the same."

Lindman's Sunday performance was, like Masci's, not a reflection on the terrorist attacks as a singular event, but rather a comment on what she sees as global political and social repercussions of 9/11.

"Nothing has stopped. Suffering and trauma have not stopped," Lindman said. "The repercussions of 9/11 are so much greater than just that day, and they affect all parts of the world — some much more than we feel here in New York."