The work for the chapel in Clermont l'Herault gave me the idea for a large grid piece made up of the 81 x 82 inch panels I had used in the choir. Back in New York, I developed a project which I meant to propose to the Port Authority (which ran the World Trade Center) for the atrium space of one of the towers.
When the towers fell it became evident that art was not appropriate in the face of such destruction.
I thought I had abandoned any notion of developing this work, but Christine Bastin, a French choreographer whom I had worked with once before, contacted me to talk about working on another collaboration. Her thematic so closely fit the view I had imagined that I decided to paint it as a back drop for her.
Back in New York, I felt very disturbed by the rapid cleanup schedule which I felt left little time for any kind of collective reckoning. I began to look for a place to show this view, with the idea that it might provide a place for New-Yorkers to begin to come to terms with what had happened.
I showed my friend Lisa Frigand the mock-ups I had made, and she came back with an appointment with Sandra Bloodworth, the head of MTA Arts for Transit.
When I met Sandra she already had a very clear idea of what the piece could be.
Rather than the main concourse, which was too large and impersonal, it would be in Vanderbilt Hall.
Rather than one piece there would be two, one on either side of the hall, with three benches protecting the space form the ongoing pedestrian traffic from 42nd street.
I realized that the East / West orientation was perfect for a double view. East towards Brooklyn and West towards New Jersey.
The experience turned out to be very moving, and I believe my first and perhaps last contribution to healing.
The fact that we created it collectively (Sandra Bloodworth imagining the scenography, Chris Thompson and Howard Harrisson creating a musical score, and myself painting the actual panels) made it escape the dangers of ego which such a large piece might normally encounter.
And the response was amazingly moving.
Follow this link to a sample of the writings left in the comment book.