Eighth-Graders Get Really Mean 9/11 Art Review

Viewed through the unripe eyes of Calhoun’s 13-year-olds, the collapse of the Twin Towers might have been a natural disaster. Captions tell us that the “The loss was sudden and great”; “Smoke and dust were everywhere”; and “The streets were empty.” For all the project’s pretense to chronicle, nothing indicates why. “People donated blood.” So? Blood drives are commonplace. “The people were afraid.” But of what? Yes, “people still miss the Twin Towers.” But why are they gone? Did they just fall down of their own accord? Might their destruction have had something to do with the lethal ideology of Islamist jihadists? Or with Islam’s theological imperative toward war with the infidel and the religiously sanctioned violence of classic Islamic jurisprudence? The display keeps mum on the critical matter of responsibility.

9/11: Through Young Eyes is on view through October 8, 2011, at DC Moore Gallery in West Chelsea. The exhibition consists of work made in 2001 by an eighth grade class at the Calhoun School, after seeing an exhibition by Jacob Lawrence at the Whitney (oh and, I guess, also the devastation of downtown). It is also, according to this absolutely scathing review, a heaping pile of ahistorical garbage. Also: “An oddly truncated exercise in sanitized storytelling that sacrifices historical understanding to a bien pensant avoidance of the obvious.” HAHA WOW.