Article - Michael Gross
September 11th, 2001
On September 11 2001, four airplanes on USA domestic flights were hijacked by Al Queida terrorists and crashed within less than 90 minutes. Two crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one onto the Pentagon and one crashed into a field in the State of Pennsylvania, after the passengers on the plane managed to thwart the hijackers intentions housands of people were killed in this act of terror.
A year later, Prime Minster Ariel Sharon made a speech at a solidarity ceremony with the American people and the families of the victims.
Below are excerpts from this speech:
“A year has passed since September 11th, when the clock of history stood still at the World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon in Washington and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
A year has passed since the assault by the forces of terror and evil, an assault, which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, and sowed unprecedented and massive destruction. An assault which positioned the strategic threat of terror to the values, culture and very existence of Western democratic society at the core of world awareness…
I recall one unforgettable image from that day: amid the sirens, destruction and some which engulfed the City of new York immediately following the collapse of the Towers, a camera lens captured the Statue of Liberty and her Torch – symbols of the spirit of America – standing steadfast.
On this day we stand together with the American people: we remember, grieve and will never forget.”
Michael Gross was born in 1920 in Migdal, a village on the Sea of Galilee, sixth generation to a Galilee family. In 1939 Arabs murdered his father and destroyed the farm and house. This event imprinted his works as an artist.
Michael Gross was the Israel Prize laureate for art in 2000. He also received the Dizengoff Prize from the city of Tel Aviv, the Sandberg Prize from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Education & Culture Minister’s Prize for Painting and Sculpture. His art has won extensive international recognition and his works can be found in collections of museums around the world.
The painting 11 September 2001 was displayed at Michael Gross’s exhibition of Recent Works held by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in the summer of 02. Yigal Zalmona, curator of the exhibition, finds a connection between Gross’s spontaneous reaction to the disastrous attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the subject of his father's murder. In his article for the exhibition catalogue Zalmona writes: “.. a vertical image inspired by the twin towers roughly at the center of the canvas....” recalls “a painting that depicts the family house and fields prior to their destruction around the time of Chaim Gross's murder". The X image, a symbol of erasure and cancellation, with the yellow and black lines, marks the towers and the airplane in red is seen hitting the towers.
This work is therefore seemingly simple but is actually very complex, connecting between the artist’s personal agony to that of America and the entire world.