Zurab Tsereteli describing his public art work in Moscow
Internationally renowed Russo-Georgian artist Zurab Tsereteli will be in Bayonne, New Jersey on September 11, 2006 for a public ceremony dedicating a monument "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism".
The Associated Press reports that "The monument also has been billed as a gift from 'Russian President Vladimir Putin, the people of Russia and the artist' to the people of the United States, in the spirit of France's gift of the Statue of Liberty. The segments of the monument arrived in New Jersey from Russia last September, shortly before Putin attended a groundbreaking in Bayonne when he traveled to New York for meetings at the United Nations."
Fox News has an earlier version of the story discussing the controversy over whether some names should be removed from the monument. Unlike many other 9/11 memorials, the site includes the names of six people killed in the first terrorist attempt to bring down the World Trade Center, in 1993. New York and New Jersey officials are in talks with the artist's lawyer to decide about the other names not found in the official list of WTC dead.
Click on the extended post to see the monument and read the full AP article.
Artist's concept of the Bayonne 9/11 Memorial facing the Manhattan skyline
Teardrop sculpture in Bayonne to be dedicated on Sept. 11
By JANET FRANKSTON, Associated Press Writer
Published: Friday, July 28, 2006
Updated: Friday, July 28, 2006
BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) - At 100 feet tall, the bronze sculpture on the Bayonne waterfront is hard to miss.
The massive memorial evokes the World Trade Center that once sat across the Hudson River. Jagged lines divide the monument into two tower-like pieces, and a 40-foot steel teardrop gently hangs in the open center, like a bell.
On fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli will dedicate his 175-ton work, which sits on a former military base, past the entrance to a cruise terminal, at the tip of a peninsula. The Statue of Liberty is just across the water.
The names of the people who died in the 1993 and Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are etched in granite, in slabs that will form an 11-sided base.
There's some question about the accuracy of the names on the base. The memorial lists 3,024 names, according to the artist's attorney. That's 45 more than the official count of 2,979, which includes six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the 2,973 killed on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
New York City officials removed 43 names in 2003 and 2004 from the list of the dead at the trade center, saying some people had tried to fake their own deaths, while others had been falsely reported missing or their deaths could not be proven to have occurred at ground zero.
Emily Madoff, an attorney for the artist, said after trying to determine the correct list of names from several sources, she asked for confirmation from Kenneth Feinberg, the former special master of a federal Sept. 11 victim compensation fund, who referred her to a book published by The New York Times in 2003.
"We tried so hard to make it right," Madoff said. "If we erred, we erred on the side of inclusion." She said she stands by her list of names as being "the most accurate one we could possibly find," she said.
The sculpture, "To The Struggle Against World Terrorism," will be the centerpiece of a two-acre park nearing completion in Bayonne, whose officials are happy to have the public art.
Like the 72-year-old artist, known for grand statues that some critics have called more "kitsch" than art, the sculpture isn't without controversy.
The first plan had the sculpture located on the Jersey City waterfront, but city officials there rejected it.
Mayor Jerramiah Healy said leaders didn't realize the monument's height and thought it would impede views of the Hudson and New York City skyline. He said the city's arts community didn't like it, either.
"Their message to the council was clear: it was not just unpleasant, but almost to the point of offensive," he said. "We're happy that Bayonne is happy and we're happy that Mr. Tsereteli is happy."
City officials in Bayonne welcomed the sculpture. They offered up a site, on city-owned land planned for redevelopment.
The city is not paying for the memorial, but agreed to pay $1.25 million to create the first phase of the waterfront park, said Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria.
"It's a very important memorial," he said. "We should be working against the terrorism that resulted in the attack on 9/11. The teardrop is an excellent context of what we have to do."
It's unclear how the monument is being funded, but Tsereteli calls it "his gift." He said he didn't want to take any money from the Russian government, but declined to elaborate.
Madoff said the materials, shipping, labor and cost to create the base is about $12 million.
The monument also has been billed as a gift from "Russian President Vladimir Putin, the people of Russia and the artist" to the people of the United States, in the spirit of France's gift of the Statue of Liberty.
The segments of the monument arrived in New Jersey from Russia last September, shortly before Putin attended a groundbreaking in Bayonne when he traveled to New York for meetings at the United Nations.
The monument came in five parts - four pieces that would be assembled to become the memorial - and the tear.
Tsereteli returned to Bayonne this month to put the finishing touches on his sculpture.
"From here if you looked at the trade towers, they looked as if they were blended as one," Tsereteli said through a translator, his 28-year-old grandson Vasili, pointing across the water.
Tsereteli said the tear symbolizes "sadness over grief that will become happiness in the future when terrorism is defeated."
Associated Press Writer Amy Westfeldt contributed to this report.