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Thread: Lost Artwork - Old WTC, NYC

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    Default Lost Artwork - Old WTC, NYC



    "Cloud Fortress" (1975) by Masayuki Nagare


    I do not know if lost artwork as part of the history of the old WTC blending into the New WTC is an appropriate topic for this forum. I see a thread already regarding lost or about to be lost architectural treasures. Maybe this belongs there. But art is kind of a portable thing and not fixed like architecture.

    This is indirectly about my search into many dead ends over the years in trying to track down lost art work at the old World Trade Center in Manhattan. There does not seem to be much of an Internet trail on items lost. There is no mention of duplication or reproductions of artwork in the new WTC that may have been in the original complex and might once again be displayed, reborn, there when finished.

    This is of course a hobby of mine when ever I get some free time to explore the subject. Just a ”I wondered” kind of thing.

    I have seen the damaged Globe, “The Sphere”, piece in Battery Park that used to be in the center of the old WTC plaza. The original artist had all but walked away from his damaged art or so I remember. In a way, restoring that globe completely might not be appropriate considering its history. It now is a memorial of sorts and should probably stay that way.

    My fascination with this subject all started with a stone bas-relief on the old 7 WTC.

    I remember walking up West Broadway from Vesey Street behind the Post Office there before 911. I walked there back in the eighties to swing past some large decorative artwork that adorned the east, street level, facade of the former 7 World Trade Center. This red granite facade or bas-relief was a cover for a downward driveway into the building from the rear on Barclay Street.

    If I was to describe the design, to me, I would call it an abstract “Tree of Life”.

    Out of curiosity, I started out looking for a title or a trail on that stone bas-relief on street level, east facing, West Broadway, (photo below – best I could find) at the old #7 WTC (1987) – Architects Emery Roth & Sons. That firm is now out of business and any archives are buried up at some library up at Columbia. I am not that curious to do a lot of time and legwork on this. I thought maybe some of you architecture buffs might have info or pictures on the subject to share.

    My question is to identify this bas-relief. Was it part of the architect’s original decorative design and cartooned and carved by stone masons? Or was it designed, titled and signed as a work of art and by a known artist?

    The information has grown over the years regarding lost artwork. For example, regarding the old 7 WTC there were three murals in the Lobby by Brooklyn born Artist Al Feld (1928-2005) with titles The Third Circle, Pan North XII, and Vorces VII, that I cannot find pictures of. Anybody got a photo?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Held

    And thanks to Wikipedia, some central source of information regarding this subject is being assembled.

    Works destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks


    Many works of art were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.
    • "Ideogram" (1967) stainless steel sculpture by James Rosati
    • "Cloud Fortress" (1975) a large, black granite piece by Japanese artist Masayuki Nagare, destroyed in the 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts.
    • "The World Trade Center Tapestry" a 20' x 35' tapestry by Joan Miró
    • "Sky Gate, New York" (1977-78) by Louise Nevelson
    • A memorial fountain for the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by Elyn Zimmerman
    • "World Trade Center Stabile" (1971) a 25' red steel sculpture by Alexander Calder. Approximately 30% of the sculpture was recovered.
    • Some 300 sculptures and drawings by Auguste Rodin, part of the Cantor Fitzgerald collection.
    • Needle Tower (1968) by Kenneth Snelson.
    • Recollection Pond, a tapestry by Romare Bearden.
    • Path Mural, by Germaine Keller.
    • Commuter Landscape, a large mural by Cynthia Mailman.
    • Fan Dancing with the Birds, a mural by Hunt Slonem.
    • The Entablature Series by Roy Lichtenstein
    • Approximately 40,000 negatives of photographs by Jacques Lowe documenting the presidency of John F. Kennedy.
    • The Sphere, an abstract sculpture by Fritz Koenig, survived the collapse but was seriously damaged, and now serves as a memorial.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_artworks
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    wow, I always appreciate your insight and stories...too bad I can't help. I personally have never been to the former WTC.

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    Thumbs up

    Yes. I really like this thread.

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    A shame this one didn't survive recovery efforts. Was this thing just too heavy to move?

    Robert Segal

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    There were other pressing issues in those early hours ...

    ... the sculpture was bulldozed and removed, probably within the first 24 hours, to allow heavy machinery to facilitate the rescues anticipated in those early hours. No trace of it has come to light at the landfill on Staten Island or elsewhere. The sculpture seems to have endured like a fortress and then vanished like a cloud.

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    Thanks for the kind words folks. I don't want all this to look backward to the old WTC too much. Touchy subject matter for some.

    I'd rather see the lost artwork in its prime and in a pristine condition in photos. It would give me at least some reassurace about the continuity of things in NYC. Good memories are more important than bad ones.

    I had a genuine curiousity about something I walked by hundreds of times in terms of art and then it was gone. It took me a few years to remember the bas-relief on the old 7WTC. And then I found a piece of a photo. It's not important.

    I would like to see something along that theme, a tree of life sculpture or bas-relief in the new WTC somewhere. I would like it to be just as anonymous as that bas-relief that I passed by and never stopped except maybe once or twice over a couple years to look up at it.

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    Memorial Fountain by Elyn Zimmerman

    For example, I did not live near NYC for most of the nineties. This memorial for the 1993 bombing and its victims - I had no clue even existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia inventory.

    Not much in the way of art IMHO, but it is interesting to see how this photo will no doubt be seen in decades to come like some of the lost architecture photos in this forum. By recording the lost art and in its original condition, a part of old New York will never die.

    You can then judge some of the architecture of the new WTC within the context of an older site by some of its artwork, interiors and exteriors.

    Modern architecture is mostly glass and stainless steel these days. There is little or nothing like terra cota to accent the architects' footprint besides a box of glass and steel. How the architecture blends into and around fountains, patches of green is how future generatons will see and compare the old with the new. Just a thought.

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    "The World Trade Center Tapestry" a 20' x 35' tapestry by Joan Miró


    Joan Miro (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983) was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramist born in Barcelona.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Mir%C3%B3


    I cannot remember if this was in WTC1 or 2. I do remember seeing it.

  9. #9

    Default new world trade center blog

    this art work was from the south tower number 2 i am gonna hang this in my new model too i am making a very realistic model of the complex currently im working on the twin towers its looking very real to me take a look at it the blog is call origenal 3d world trade center model

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    I had done research on the Cantor Fitzgerald collection of Auguste Rodin lost on 911. I did not like the stuff. I think Rodin a bit dated and dreary. The loss of Rodin Sculpture is nothing in light of over 600 employees that died that day. The sculptures can be easily replaced unlike the victims of that day. I say easily replaced because a lot of the molds of Rodin's works are owned by the French Government and pieces can be reproduced for a fee.

    Speaking of sculpture, the piece below lost on 911 is a "stabile" painted metal sculpture by Alexander Calder. I have seen various photos of this stabile in various locations around the WTC. I thought it rather large and awkward to walk around when it was near the corner on street level at Vesey and Church. The photo puts it on the elevated plaza outside the elevated lobby of 7 WTC.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Bent Propellor - Stabile - Calder

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Calder

    Calder was from a family of sculptors in Philadelphia. His grandfather sculpted and or designed the statues on Phila. City Hall which took twenty years to do along with the 37 foot bronze statue of William Penn on top of City hall. His father designed and executed the Logan Circle Fountain, Swann Memorial Fountain, in the center of the long Benjamin Franklin Parkway, “spine of the Philadelphia Museum District”, and inspired in design by the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

    Many tour guides will tell you of the Calder family decorating the Parkway from one end to the other, from city hall to the museum of art where one of Calder’s famous mobiles, Ghost, is exhibited in the Grand Hall near St. Gaudens Diana.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Logan Circle Fountain and Philadelphia City Hall


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    Ghost - Mobile - Calder
    Last edited by Statun-Ilandur; May 1st, 2010 at 02:25 PM.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Recollection Pond

    Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988) was an African- American artist and writer. He worked in several media including cartoons, oils, and collage.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romare_Bearden

    National Gallery of Art (samples of his work) http://www.nga.gov/feature/bearden/img-list.shtm

    I have not been able to identify where this tapestry was located within old WTC.

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    While I miss the original WTC complex, I don't miss its so-called "art."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Statun-Ilandur View Post

    Recollection Pond

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romare_Bearden

    ... I have not been able to identify where this tapestry was located within old WTC.
    According to this webpage it was in 3 WTC, the hotel at the SW corner of the WTC site (the red box HERE on WikiMapia):

    The Recollection Pond tapestry on display at the World Trade Center (#3) was destroyed on September 11, 2001.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Ideogram" by James Rosati (1911-1988)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    While I miss the original WTC complex, I don't miss its so-called "art."

    In retrospect, I have to agree. The "art" was, for the most part, just off the shelf schlock-art. Not NYC's finest moment, in a place, a great space, that could have staged great art.

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