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Mark Lamster

UnMonumental


gms-field-9-11-memorial

My first reaction to the above was, "Oh, good lord." While it's true that the events of 9/11 have begotten a good number of ill-conceived memorials, the latest, set for unveiling today at the Yankees' spring training home in Tampa, might just be the least successful, artistically.

The hyper-literal design is constructed of steel from the site and set on a base that itself rests inelegantly on a pentagonal plinth, a tribute to the attack's victims in Washington. I won't say it looks kitschy, but it does have the dispiriting feel of a token, an overgrown toy model (Consider that an analogous memorial to Flight 93 would be a plane not much larger than a matchbox car). 

There's a reason why memorials, from the simple tombstone to the largest public monuments, invariably rely on some form of abstraction (not necessarily of the modernist variety). Should there even be such a memorial at a spring ballpark in Florida, a place for carefree entertainment? I'll leave that one alone. Certainly, the Yankees were there for NY in the wake of the attacks, providing the city with its first real reasons to cheer with their dramatic performance in the 2001 World Series. And the team does have a penchant for memorials. I think they did better service to the Babe.

Posted in: Art, Public Art

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