If you haven’t had public art on your mind lately, there are two current reasons that maybe you should. One of them is the 9/11 sculpture commissioned by Saratoga Arts to be made out of World Trade Center steel by two prominent local sculptors, John Van Alstine and Noah Savett, which should have been unveiled last weekend but wasn’t (background here). The other is the Living Walls project that also launched last weekend and will be the focus of a broad spectrum of events this weekend in Albany.
Amid all the hubbub surrounding the 9/11 anniversary, there was the unfortunate story of how this significant piece of art has been turned into a political football by various folks in Saratoga Springs, who decided they didn’t like either the initially approved siting of the 25-foot-tall abstract memorial, or a second proposed location (for a good overview of the debacle, read Tom Keyser’s coverage from the Times Union).
It always galls me when people who otherwise do not involve themselves with art suddenly feel entitled to act against it when they see something they don’t like being given prominence in public. A couple of significant examples from the recent past include the removal of a long-standing sculpture, which critics compared to a collapsed staircase, from its spot near a government building in downtown Albany; and the very controversial and expensive removal of a monumental Richard Serra sculpture from a public square in Manhattan.
I knew no one who died that day. I couldn’t even remember when I had last visited the World Trade Center. But when the towers fell, I was immensely shocked and filled with a sadness I’d never experienced before.
It took two weeks to gather the courage to go to Manhattan and witness the site with my own eyes. Friends would ask me, “How can you go down there?” and I remember thinking, “How can you not?”
For the past ten years, Albany artist Marie Triller has been visiting Ground Zero on the anniversary of September 11 to photograph the people who gather to remember the attacks. A personal response to a previously unimaginable tragedy. Triller’s annual pilgrimage has yielded an ever-growing collection of powerful images, some of which she’s exhibited both locally and nationally.
When you’re as successful as Alan Jackson – who has racked up more than 50 Top 10 hit singles, half of which have shot straight up to No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts – sometimes it’s difficult to predict exactly which song is going to be the biggest crowd-pleaser in concert.
That won’t be the case, however, when the country superstar makes a tour stop at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday night. No, you can bet the farm that this is the one that’s going to earn the loudest and longest applause of the night:
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