The federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn unveiled its latest exhibit in the Charles P. Sifton Gallery called “September 11, 2001 (Please stop saying 9/11)” with a reception featuring the artist Christopher Saucedo on Wednesday.
The exhibit featured many paintings of the World Trade Center as a cloud on blue paper as well as branded portraits of the artist’s brother Gregory Saucedo, a firefighter who passed away on Sept. 11.
“As a court, it has been important for us to recognize the sacrifices of the firefighters in our own community who serve our court,” said the court’s Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon. “Thank you Mr. Saucedo for providing us with this exhibit as a special remembrance of all of those who lost their lives that day.”
The courthouse features memorials to the fallen firefighters from the two local firehouses, Engine Company 205, Ladder 118 on Middagh Street, and from Engine Company 207, Ladder 110 on Tillary Street. As part of the ceremony, Judge Amon read aloud the names of the firefighters from those houses who passed on Sept. 11, 2001 and also took a moment to remember Saucedo’s brother Gregory.
Saucedo explained how the paintings and portraits were meant to contrast, one showing a macro view of the day and the other showing the micro view.
“These works of art allow us to look up again to that blue [September] sky to see the buildings forever in this kind of impossible ethereal capacity,” Saucedo said. “That’s the macro view of the whole thing. The micro view is the one quintessential firefighter, in this case my handsome brother Gregory. It’s kind of a violent act (to brand the paper). I wanted to remind everyone that this wasn’t a Disney event. This was a real thing that happened.
“The blue pieces are hopefully ethereal cloud memories of looking up looking at the blue sky and the branded firefighter portraits are a reminder of the singular event of one person’s life lost that day,” he continued.
Saucedo also explained why he included, “Please stop saying 9/11” as part of the exhibit’s title.
“My father didn’t like people who put “Merry X-Mas” in their front lawns in Brooklyn growing up because he felt like it was an unnecessary abbreviation,” Saucedo said. “Really, I’m not expecting anyone to change their behavior to start saying September, I’m just trying to point out that there is a little difference between 9/11 and September 11th and I’m going for the latter.”
The exhibit will be featured in the lobby of the Eastern District of New York courthouse located at 225 Cadman Plaza East through November 13.