It has been thirteen years since the attack on 9/11. It was a day so deeply burned in our memories that each one of us individually remembers where we were and what we were doing. Since that day, we have each paid tribute in our own way. This year, The Jefferson Market Library has opened their doors to an exhibit honoring the memories we all shared. The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11 by artist and local resident Luke Kurtis.
The exhibit features the artists’ language tiles, photography and writings inspired by the families of 9/11, his own memories of that day and the days that followed. Included in the exhibit are some of the Tiles of Remembrance. Later renamed The Tiles for America Project, it was created by Lorrie Veasey at her studio, Our Name Is Mud, next to the empty lot and chain-linked fence on Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South. This fence became the spontaneous framework for people, both in our community and around the world, to show their feelings in the form of tiles.
The chain-linked fence on the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South housed tiles numbering in the thousands for eleven years until the property, owned by the MTA, was slated to become a ventilation site and the fence and tiles had to be removed. It is still unclear where most of the tiles are today but a limited number of the tiles were salvaged and in 2013 arrangements were made for the tiles to have a permanent home at The Jefferson Market Library which is right around the corner from where the tribute originated.
Luke Kurtis’ exhibit at The Jefferson Market Library, in conjunction with The 9/11 Tribute Center, is a reflection on the effect September 11th had on our community and the world. The 9/11 Tribute Center is part of the September 11th Families’ Association, which not only collects and preserves personal stories, but also has a trained corps of more than 600 guides, 200 of whom are always at the 9/11 Memorial, ready to lead daily tours. They have given tours to more than 250,000 visitors from around the world so far and each guide will often give their own very personal account.
Luke Kurtis lives and works in Greenwich Village. His exhibit, The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11, can been seen in the lobby of The Jefferson Market Library, located on the corner of West Tenth Street and Avenue of the Americas until October 4th.
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