Reflecting on “Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11” Gallery Talks

A woman with a backpack walks through the exhibition “Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11.” Dozens of small artworks are displayed on the wall in front of her.
The exhibition “Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11,” on view at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Photo by Jin Lee, 9/11 Memorial.

I’ve had the pleasure of organizing this season’s gallery talks within the Museum’s special exhibition “Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11,” and I’ve been inspired by our visitors’ reactions to these tales of loss and resiliency.

Led by members of our curatorial staff every Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m., these gallery talks provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the works on display and invite them to engage in a conversation about the stories, inspiration, materials and impact of the day’s events on creative communities. Structured as a stand-alone experience, the gallery space does not require visitors to navigate through the Museum’s adjacent historical exhibition.

The show is comprised of the work of 13 New York–based artists, and we’ve been fortunate to welcome several them to join these lectures, including Donna Levinstone, Ejay Weiss, Todd Stone and Tobi Kahn.

"9/11 is often on my mind, but when I am at the museum, it takes on a totally different feeling,” Kahn reflected after leading a gallery talk. “Life is a continuum. What we remember is continually being transformed by imagination, turning our past into dreams that become guides for the way we live."

For me, it’s always a special moment to see how these conversations engage our visitors’ curiosity and they often leave visibly moved by the insights the artists and staff provide. Gallery talks are another important way to interact with the story and legacy of 9/11, and I hope you will join us one of these Thursday afternoons as “Rendering the Unthinkable” heads into its final weeks on view.

“Rendering the Unthinkable” remains on view at the Museum through January 21, 2018.

By Caryn Lewi, Executive Assistant & Special Projects Manager, 9/11 Memorial Museum

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