Woodward Gallery Honors 9/11 Anniversary with Monthlong Exhibition
Amidst the many twentieth anniversary observations of 9/11, the Woodward Gallery is presenting a different type of tribute. It’s current exhibition, which is designed to be easily seen from the street even when the gallery is closed, consists of prescient works of art.
“Observing 9/11: Breen, Bridges & Corn September 2021” showcases three poignant artworks, all of which were created before 9/11. Kristine Woodward, co-owner of the gallery, spoke with us about the exhibit and explained how the artists documented their visions in advance of the tragic events.
“Artists Breen, Corn, and Bridges, really tuned in to some pending devastation before it happened,” she said.
Susan Breen’s work, “Convergence,” depicts robed figures witnessing ominous clouds on a horizon. The painting was in a solo exhibit at the gallery in 2001, a few months before the attack. “She told us she felt that something was coming,” said Woodward. “She was so soulful and prescient.”
While Breen’s work was exhibited just before 9/11, Gregory Corn’s sculpture “Sacrifice,” a metal assemblage reminiscent of the Twin Towers, was actually hanging in the gallery when the attack occurred, Woodward pointed out.
Marilyn Bridges’ black-and-white photo from 1997, “WTC and Central Park looking South,” is a flyover, now haunting, of Central Park in which the towers are clearly visible in the background, and as Woodward phrased it, “is a view of the skyline that is no longer there.”
The current installation is not Woodward Gallery’s first intentional foray into work centered around the attack. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the gallery organized an exhibition reflecting on the lives lost, and then, a decade later, collaborated with Dr. Sean Ahearn, the City of New York and the Center for the Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI) of Hunter College-CUNY, for the exhibition “Charting Ground Zero.” This show provided an extensive aerial and ground overview of the World Trade Center site before and after September 11th, along with the site’s evolution over the next decade. It used the latest scientific advances in mapping technology and cartographic representation to document the transformation of the site.
The mapping and spatial analysis technologies played a crucial role in helping the city assess damage, monitor the progress of recovery, and safely deploy personnel and equipment in the disaster zone. The full exhibition was donated to the 9/11 National Memorial Museum at Ground Zero.
Now, with their current exhibition in the midst of a different crisis, Woodward wants to make sure the anniversary doesn’t lose its place in our memories. “Everyone is trying to make sense of the pandemic, and trying to make sense of their lives, and we do have to stop and remember that this was such an important part of our American history. We think it’s important to acknowledge all we have lost. We hope the exhibit will give people some solace.”
For those who want to view the current 20th Anniversary exhibit on Eldridge Street, the three works are visible in the street level windows of the Woodward Gallery for the month of September.