The Language of History press release


NYPL Presents Art Show of One Greenwich Village Artist’s Response To 9/11

The Language of History by luke kurtis features photography, writing, and more

New York Public Library’s Jefferson Market Library is proud to present a new exhibition by artist luke kurtis titled The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11. The exhibition features photography, writing, artist’s books, and other work by the artist. Some of this work documents the tragedy itself as the artist experienced it from Greenwich Village, while other pieces were made in response in the days after and the years since. The Language of History also includes new work created specifically for the exhibition. The show opens in the Lobby Gallery at the Jefferson Market Library on 6 September with an opening reception from 4 to 6pm. The show runs until 4 October.

The show was inspired by the Tiles for America project, which is a permanent installation in the Jefferson Market Library’s Lobby Gallery. ”I have such fond memories of when the tiles first went up on the fence at Greenwich and 7th Avenues,” kurtis recalls. ”The tiles were a real inspiration to the community, a source of healing. I’m glad that part of them are still on display here in the Village, and I’m happy to add something to the story they tell.”

kurtis’s own Language Tiles will be installed alongside the Tiles for America project. He created these collage works from his original photography taken on 9/11 and in the days after. His photographs are also on display, along with poetry and other writing, stills from a video art piece, and two artist’s books. kurtis created one of the artist’s books specifically for the show and it serves as an exhibition catalog. ”When I stepped back and looked at my archives, I realized I have done quite a bit of work in reaction to 9/11. I wanted to collect the best of that work in a book.” The introduction to the book, written by Christopher Stout, a New York artist and founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group, describes kurtis’s work as ”a careful memorialization and honor to the living, and the dead, and also notably to the human process of grief.”

Even though 9/11 is well over a decade behind us, kurtis’s work reminds us just how heavy the events of that day weigh on our culture. ”That’s what the title, The Language of History, is about,” says the artist. ”It’s easy to say the world changed’ on that day. It certainly did. But I’m looking at something more specific. Our language changed too. The way we talk about history colors our perception. That’s what I’m trying to bring attention to with my work.”

The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11 opens 6 September 2014. The opening reception will be from 4 to 6pm. For more information, visit For images or to request an interview with the artist, please contact (

About the Exhibition

The Language of History: A Greenwich Village Artist Remembers 9/11
6 September to 4 October 2014
Opening Reception 6 Sep, 4 to 6 PM
Jefferson Market Library, Lobby Gallery
425 Avenue of the Americas (at 10th St.)
New York, NY 10011-8454
(212) 243-4334

About the Artist

luke kurtis is an interdisciplinary artist focusing on the intersection of photography, writing, and design. His debut solo museum exhibition, INTERSECTION, featured photography and writing and opened at Massillon Museum in March 2014. His publications include the INTERSECTION zine featuring his original writing and art as well as his poetry collections let us prey (featured in RikArt Artist Book Collection, Rikhardinkatu Library, Helsinki, Finland) and quilt. His work has also appeared in The Emerson Review, Encounters, Georgia Backroads, Iceland Review, The Red Truck Review, Skin To Skin, and S/tick: Feminists on Guard. In 2012 he co-founded New Lit Salon Press. He lives and works in New York City’s Greenwich Village.