The Annual 2012

School of Visual Arts

Remembering 9/11

“here is new york”

In September 2011, SVA’s Westside Gallery hosted “here is new york: Revisited,” the College’s tribute to “here is new york,” the impromptu display of photographs that popped up in a SoHo storefront immediately after 9/11. Featuring 300 of the thousands of images submitted to the earlier show, SVA’s exhibition, which was initiated by MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department Chair Charles Traub, captured a community’s attempt to cope with the horror of this devastating event.

Writing in The New York Times about a trio of concurrent 9/11-related exhibitions, critic Roberta Smith commented on the show and its inspiration:

The most visceral experience of the day’s murderousness is provided by ‘Here Is New York: Revisited’ at the School of Visual Arts’s Westside Gallery. It reprises the impromptu exhibition of images of the attack and its aftermath taken by both professional and amateur photographers that sprang up in two small storefronts in SoHo in the days after Sept. 11. That show was an early example of crowd sourcing; its original subtitle was ‘A Democracy of Photographs.’

About 300 of some 6,500 images ultimately submitted to this project are presented here, clipped, as they originally were, to wires strung along and sometimes between walls, a little like laundry hanging out to dry. Jumping around in time and space, they form a kind of heart-wrenching Cubism.

One picture shows the second plane hitting the south tower—just barely touching it, almost like a kiss. Others show people being rescued, holding one another, weeping, running for their lives. We see the plaza at Union Square covered with comments in chalk, anticipating the immense shrines of candles, photographs and memorabilia (also pictured) that would accumulate.

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