Three Pieces of Art at the World Trade Center in NYC

The World Trade Center is a place associated with tragedy but also resilience. Several amazing pieces of art have been made in memorial of the tragic events that happened on September 11, 2001 and to celebrate hardworking people. Here are three of those amazing memorials and pieces of art, each of which have a different message and different tones but all of them equally beautiful.

Balloon Flower by Jeff Koons
Balloon Flower by Jeff Koons

This is a giant sculpture of a red balloon flower made by artist Jeff Koons. It lies in the shadow of the new World Trade Center as an upbeat memorial to the tragic events that happened on September 11,2001. It is on the Battery Park waterfront and is flanked with shooting jets of water that spurt up into the air in the summer in a ground-level fountain. It is a nice oasis from the high temperatures in the summer because people can go and get cooled down by the water by walking on the strong fountain jets.

However, in the winter the fountain is off, but the bright red sculpture is still a beacon of color against the drab white and greyness in winter. The sculpture is made of highly polished stainless steel, even though it looks like a giant version of a flower made out of a balloon. It is so realistic that it looks like it could be popped at any moment by a toothpick. It is a flower in memoriam, but unlike a lot of memorials, it has an upbeat, almost silly tone. However, it does not make light of the situation. The balloon flower can be found at 7 World Trade Center 10048.

Eleven Tears Memorial by Ken Smith
Eleven Tears Memorial by Ken Smith

This memorial was commissioned by American Express and designed by artist Ken Smith. It is a graceful way to pay homage to the American Express employees who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It is an eleven-sided reflecting pool. In the center is a polished piece of white crystal quartz that is shaped like an upside-down teardrop. On each side of the pool is an employee’s name. Above their names, in the reflecting pool, are words and phrases meant to describe that person and signify them.

Drops of water fall like tears over these inscriptions from the ceiling. Nearby is a panel that gives more biographical information about each employee who died that tragic day when the World Trade Center was hit. When it first opened, a private viewing was held, open only to American Express members and the families of the victims. The Eleven Tears Memorial is at the World Financial Center. It is a beautiful and graceful memorial to honor the American Express employees who died during that tragic day. Its address is 200 Vesey Street American Express Tower 3 World Financial Center New York, New York 10004. Tours of the memorial are given and anyone can go see it now.

Walking Men Worldwide by Maya Barkai

Walking Men Worldwide by Maya Barkai

Walking Men Worldwide is a public art installation in New York City. It is a collage of replications of pedestrian traffic icons from around the world. The icons are presented in human scale so it looks like silhouettes of icons are walking with people on the street. Walking Men Worldwide made its debut in 2010 on 99 Church Street in Manhattan. The installation was commissioned by the Alliance for Downtown New York. It was installed in two editions over the next four years. At the time it was called Walking Men 99. But other projects that were similar soon followed.

This included Walking Men PERMM by the PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia. It also included Walking Men Worldwide– The Banner Gallery, which appeared at the Art and About Sydney Festival in 2013. This was followed by a second installation in Sydney in alliance with Walk 21 Sydney in 2014. Walking Men BA was hosted by Buenos Aires in 2015 in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Argentina.

The different walk signs from around the world vary in a lot of ways. Geneva has a simple stick figure made out of dots while Tokyo has a gold, bulky silhouette of a hunched over man wearing a hat. London’s walking man looks like he has a pinstriped print covering him while Algiers’ walking man looks like pounded blue iron.

Different projects with a similar concept includes the Men at Work projects. Men at Work appeared in 2010 at Bat-Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism in Israel. In 2011, Men At Work NYC was unveiled around World Trade Center Tower 4. It featured different icons from around the world of people doing hard manual labor, mostly shoveling something out of a pile. It is a nice attribute to the hard working men and women around the world.

Robert Gillings is an award winning writer, producer, actor architectural designer, philosopher and financial consultant. See his submission to the WTC Memorial Competition here.

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