We remember September 11 with Ellsworth Kelly’s Ground Zero (2003). Kelly first began conceiving a memorial at Ground Zero in 2001, when he imagined a large, gently sloping mound of earth covered in brilliant green grass. For thousands of years, cultures all over the world have used mounds as a way to revere the dead, and Kelly has said that ancient mounds of North America influenced some of the shapes in his work. When the artist saw this aerial photograph of Ground Zero published in The New York Times in 2003, he was moved to make this collage of a prospective memorial. As envisioned by Kelly, pedestrians walking towards the memorial would see green curves at the intersection of the street and the mound, each block offering a different aperture and shape. Those looking down from neighboring buildings on the site would see an expanse of color, as if looking at the ocean or sky.
Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015), Ground Zero, 2003. Collage on paper (newsprint). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of an anonymous donor. © Ellsworth Kelly