Artist still feels distance trying to comprehend Sept. 11

September 8, 2011
By Chris Saunders

Some questions are unanswerable, some problems insurmountable.

Greg Lindquist ’03, a Brooklyn-based artist, was sitting in Helga Braunbeck’s intermediate German class at NC State the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and learned that planes had flown into World Trade Centers 1 and 2 and into the Pentagon.

“There was a sense of a kind of disbelief, a sense of incomprehension about how it would be resolved,” Lindquist says. “It was hard to even connect the facts that there were hundreds and thousands of people in those buildings.”

Three years later, Lindquist was working in a studio at the Pratt Institute in New York, where he had moved in 2004 to pursue his art. One day he was projecting images of the buildings from the attacks on 9/11. A fellow student who had  lindy2lived in New York in 2001 told him to turn off the projector. She couldn’t bear to see the images.

Lindquist, who curated an exhibit that opened in the Flanders Gallery in August, understands the effects of the past. He paints landscapes in transition. Landscapes that memorialize.

But that day at the Pratt Institute with his classmate, Lindquist understood that he was still the same distance from comprehending the event as he was in his German class at NC State. Lindquist, a Wilmington native, says memorializing Sept. 11 with a painting is problematic for him. It’s not something he wants to do.

“I wasn’t in New York City,” he says, “so even though I have lived here for seven years, I still feel like an outsider to that event. There’s a lack of access, emotionally and physically, to experiencing 9/11 firsthand.”

Lindquist’s emotions speak to the difficulty of a national tragedy registering with citizens. He is still unable to fully process that morning. No piece of art will explain it, he says. “There are some subject matters,” he says, “that are insurmountable.”

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On Sunday, the NC State Alumni Association, along with assistance from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Reserve Officer Training Corps, will sponsor a memorial service at the Alumni Memorial Belltower to recognize and honor all who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

The service will also pay tribute to all alumni and their families who have honorably served our country since the university was founded in 1887. Click here for more details.

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