in the Public Realm
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Today is September 11th. It was completely eerie to wake up to another clear sunny day mimicking that fateful one eleven years ago. As New Yorkers this is the day when we all live abnormal normal lives. And we take our place front and center on the world’s stage which turns to Lower Manhattan. As Barack Obama put it two years ago in a letter to the NY Daily News, “On this day, we are all New Yorkers”. So, like everyone else, we're a little jumpy. Already we overheard someone in the elevator tell of crawling through buried cars to evacuate a subway train. A voice on the intercom just warned us that our fire alarm is being 'tested'. And the day is still young.

Today’s ‘local paper’ is punctuated with sentiments about remembrance from the same merchants whose ads encouraged us to shop for Fashion Night last Thursday. The Metro Section has a piece about the sluggish pace of rebuilding the 9/11 Memorial Museum which has been proceeding in fits and starts for what seems like eternity and has been delayed yet again for reasons of politics and money.

Since cultureNOW was conceived on September 12th, 2001 today is in a sense, our anniversary too. Our maps have expanded from 16 acres to Google Earth. The resurgence of Downtown has been so extensive that it would be impossible to even fit the same cultural and historical map we made in January 2002 onto Lower Manhattan today. Maps are out of date the moment they are printed. But websites and the app can be updated forever. This issue is devoted to documenting works in progress, to looking at long projects. It is fitting to take a snapshot of Ground Zero with a new tour featuring recent videos of 6 of the architects talking about what the World Trade Center meant to them as 'Architects of Healing'. Snøhetta, whose 911 Museum Entry Pavilion frames the Memorial is the Featured Architect.

We turned to Atlanta as the Public Art Collection because much of its artwork commemorates the City's lengthy rise from its total destruction during the Civil War. We noticed that many of the memorials we’ve been to feature walls of memorial tiles painted by children. We’ve never highlighted an artist who works in this medium which prompted us to share Joyce Kozloff’s work. Many of her mosaics are about maps and mapping and she is featured in the Kemper Museum's show on the Map as Art which opens on September 14th. For us, 9/11 is a moment when we take stock of where we are, remember where we've been and set new goals for the future. In other words, it's a work in progress.

Abby Suckle, President

Probably the single most significant event that has defined the cityscape of Atlanta is the Civil War. Even though General Sherman’s March upon the city, its burning and its' sacking took place nearly 150 years ago, in many ways the after effects are still with us. They have permeated the city's self image ever since. Since this is an issue about the lengthy process of rebuilding and healing, it is appropriate to turn there to view the recovery process through its art and to see how the city came to terms with the Civil Rights Movement. Perhaps the definitive healing moment was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta when the city became symbolic of the New South.

Riches Department Store occupied a special place in the hearts and minds of Atlantans. More than a store, it was noted for the kindnesses by the staff and management to help the members of the community during financial crises. Atlanta from the Ashes, commemorating the rebirth considered by many to be the iconic sculpture of the city. It was originally commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the store and refurbished and relocated to Woodruff Park for the 1996 Olympics.

Another artwork commissioned for the Olympics, Margaret Mitchell Square, Kit-Yin Snyder’s sculpture of mesh columns and arches was created as a memorial to the author’s life and works. Freedom Park, Atlanta's Art Park has its own collection of public art including Xavier Medina-Campeny’s billboard-sized memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. which is not far from the National Historic Site. More recently, Chris Fennell welded 600 recycled softball bats Bats, Baseball into a lifesize baseball arch in Southside Park.

Homage to King (1996) Xavier Medina-Campeny
Photo courtesy of the City of Atlanta Public Art Collection

Atlanta From the Ashes (1969) G. Quirino & J. Siegler
Photo courtesy of the City of Atlanta Public Art Collection

Bats, Baseball (2010) Chris Fennell
Photo courtesy of the City of Atlanta Public Art Collection

Margaret Mitchell Square (1996) Kit-Yin Snyder
Photo courtesy of the City of Atlanta Public Art Collection

To look at Ground Zero while it's under construction is to capture some moment-in-time images such as views under the now-filled in plaza or from the construction elevator at One World Trade that will be nearly impossible to recreate once it's finished.
Reflecting Absence: The World Trade Center Memorial
Michael Arad / Peter Walker Landscape
Photo courtesy of Joe Woolhead
One World Trade Center
David Childs SOM Architect
Photo courtesy of Anne Lewison
911 Memorial Museum Pavilion
Snøhetta Architect
Photo courtesy of Anne Lewison
View from One World Trade
Photo Courtesy of Anne Lewison
Master Plan Design
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Reflecting Absence: The World Trade Center Memorial
Michael Arad / Peter Walker
Photo courtesy of Joe Woolhead


There are few more effective ways to launch an architectural career than winning an architectural competition for a major cultural building and having it get built. Winning lets a firm bypass the extremely lengthy apprenticeships and ‘dues paying’ projects common in the profession. Because the rewards are so career changing, every young architect fantasizes about hitting the jackpot and enters competitions. Consequently, the odds are frightening.

Snøhetta burst on the scene beating out 524 schemes for the Alexandria Library not long after they graduated from the University of Texas. For a young architectural firm in Norway to get a building constructed in Egypt seemed the longest of the long shots. It took them more than ten years to bring the huge disk shaped structure with its reading room for 2000 people from paper to reality. After that baptism, Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen were perfectly cast to undertake the Museum Pavilion for Ground Zero. While this project was in-the-works, they managed to complete more than a few projects both permanent and temporary including the Norwegian Opera.

Biblioteca Alexandrina (2002) Alexandria, Egypt
Photo courtesy of the Architect

Norwegian National Opera & Ballet (2008) Oslo, Norway
Photo courtesy of the Architect

Tubaloon (annual) Kongsberg, Norway
Photo courtesy of the Architect

Petter Daas Museum (2007) Alstahaug, Norway
Photo courtesy of the Architect


Joyce Kozloff’s work is interesting because she has been preoccupied with mapping throughout her career. Not a lot of artists are ‘map artists’. And not a lot are trying to utilize it to create site specific pieces many of which are large tiled hand-painted mosaics. We have a particular fondness for the piece, Around the World on the 44th Parallel. To create it she drew a line around the globe at the 44th Parallel the site of the Library at Mankato State University and sketched maps of each of the 12 cities it intersected at the same scale which form a frieze in the Reading Room

Her other mosaic pieces also derive their inspiration from their settings, but each in a different way. For the Home Savings Bank in Los Angeles, she drew upon the architectural inspirations for the buildings and drew images from Renaissance Gardens to create the imagery for the tiles. Also in Los Angeles are the opposing platforms for the LA Transportation System called Fantasies and Spectacles that are meant to be read like a filmstrip at eye level. Each of the tiles depicts images from the movies arranged chronologically. Homage to Frank Furness is a mural in the refurbished entry to the Wilmington Amtrak Station which is a composition of images of architectural details from some of Furness’s buildings. The station was designed by Furness.

Gardens of Villandry and Gardens at Chenonceaux
(1989) Los Angeles • Photo courtesy of the Artist

Around the World on the 44th Parallel (1994) Mankato, MN
Photo courtesy of the Artist

The Movies: Fantasies (1991) Los Angeles, CA
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Homage to Frank Furness (1984) Wilmington, DE
Photo Courtesy of the Artist