Parsing 9/11: 10 years on MoMA remembers, at PS1, with Janet Cardiff
(Image: Janet Cardiff's "40-Part Motet," installed at New York's Lincoln Center for its White Light Festival last year)
I received a fascinating notice this morning about an upcoming show at MoMA's PS1, designed to address the cataclysmic cultural upheaval that's taken place in the decade since the World Trade Center towers were toppled by terrorist attack on the awful morning, almost 10 years ago.
I suspect a few hackles will be raised by even the attempt, however deft, or respectfully plied; in the view of many, this is sensitive ground to tread on with anything less than pure, uncomplicated reverance. As we know, very little good art comes from that impulse, and I seriously doubt many of the 70+ works will be so cloying; what I do know, though, is that Janet Cardiff's "40 Part Motet," one of the most moving works I've ever experienced, will be a central component of the show.
The piece was last at PS1 in the weeks following the attacks, its 40 haunting, distinct choral voices, each with their own speaker, came to embody both a potent collective grief, and deep personal loss.It will be installed in exactly the same location for this show.
Having experienced "40-Part Motet" at the National Gallery's Rideau Chapel before 9/11, I can say without reservation that is a visceral, emotionally moving experience. How one is moved, I suppose, relies largely on the context, and this one leaves little room for negotiation. I hope to have the chance to tell you in person.