AIA New York Chapter announces the opening of an exhibition of acclaimed artist Julie Dermansky’s photographs of memorial sites and a related panel discussion

The Center for Architecture presents an exhibition of Julie Dermansky’s memorial photographs and a related panel discussion at 6:00pm on September 10, 2008. On the eve of September 11th, the “Memorial and Meaning” panel discussion will be moderated by Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, competition advisor to the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center. Artist Statement remarks by Julie Dermansky will be followed by a memorial architecture panel with Peter Eisenman, FAIA, architect of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Frederic Schwartz FAIA, architect of the Westchester 9/11 Memorial in Valhalla, New York and the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial at Liberty State Park, New Jersey, and Michael Arad, AIA, architect of the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center, New York City. Rick Bell, FAIA, will serve as respondent.

The exhibition and panel reflects on the meaning and history of memorials while addressing site specificity and the culture of place. “History belongs to all of us,” says Dermansky, “but it is the memorial site commemorating a particular historical moment and connecting it to the present that infiltrates our being and transcends history.” Dermansky is documenting memorials in diverse locations, from the site of the destroyed US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to the Valhalla, New York 9/11 memorial by Frederic Schwartz. Her global perspective explores the range of realized memorial design solutions. With photos selected by curator Tracey Hummer, the distinguished writer and critic, the New York to Nairobi memorial exhibition captures the irony of sacred sites converted to tourist destinations.

Dermansky’s photographs capture traces of mankind’s unthinkable acts strewn across the planet in the form of monuments and residual artifacts. By presenting a global record of architectural structures, her work engages people in addressing issues of injustice and genocide that they might otherwise avoid when presented in the form of current events. Rick Bell noted that “the photos of Julie Dermansky record the remembrance of horrific events through a lens that makes them immediate and palpable you do not walk away from these images indifferent or unmoved.” Dermansky’s images tie the past to the present and start a dialogue about society’s obligation to honor and preserve unspoken history through the architecture of memorials.

A photographer who began her career as s sculptor, Julie Dermansky has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times. Her background in fine arts adds to her compelling vision. Julie’s photographs make us ask if the words “never again” are just a slogan. This fall, the artist will be named as an Affiliate Scholar at the Rutgers University Center for the Study of Genocide & Human Rights.

The exhibition runs from September 11 until October 3, 2008.

To view more images by Julie Dermansky, please visit