Liberty Plaza, New York, September 11, 2001
Not on view
Sheet: 20 × 24in. (50.8 × 61 cm) Image: 15 11/16 × 23 1/2in. (39.8 × 59.7 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Photography Committee
Rights and reproductions
© Susan Meiselas, Magnum Photos, New York.
Liberty Plaza, New York, September 11, 2001 is one of series of photographs that Susan Meiselas shot in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The image centers on another artwork: a sculpture entitled Double Check. Created by J. Seward Johnson Jr. and placed on the site in 1982, this statue of a businessman with an open briefcase—presumably “double-checking” his work before entering a nearby office—assumed new significance in the wake of September 11, when it stood intact amidst the rubble, covered in ash and strewn papers. In capturing this specific moment—the enduring presence of Johnson’s hauntingly lifelike work of art in the eerie quiet just following the buildings’ ruin—Meiselas registers a narrative of destruction and survival in a single frame.