March 8, 2005 - Vera List Center for Art and Politics - Artists and Extreme Events
March 8, 2005

Artists and Extreme Events

Towers of Light Over The Empire State Building, conceptual rendering by LaVerdiere & Myoda ©2001.  

"Artists and Extreme Events: March ’92 Bombay / September ’01 New York" 
How Acts of Unprecedented Violence Tear a City’s Fabric

Monday, March 14, 6pm

A roundtable discussion with artists Atul Dodiya, Zarina Hashmi, and Julian LaVerdiere in conversation with Tom Finkelpearl, Director, Queens Museum of Art, and anthropologist Vyjayanthi Rao 

Vera List Center
The New School
66 West 12th Street, 5th floor
New York City
Free Admission

“Progress and catastrophe are the opposite faces of the same coin.”
— Hannah Arendt

Cities have been the focus of societal upheavals since the dawn of human history, and the twentieth century was no exception. Urban catastrophes in this bloodiest of centuries disrupted and destroyed their conviviality, their security as places of dwelling and commerce. Cities continue to be the object and subject of extreme events-bomb blasts, forced mass movements of minorities and the poor, and catastrophic accidents resulting from careless juxtaposition of residential and industrial structures, such as petrochemical and nuclear plants or waste management facilities. Chernobyl, Bhopal and Toulouse are such cities. As these urban catastrophes get repeated in ever-changing variations, how are we to understand these patterns?

This roundtable discussion draws on the recent experiences of two metropolises, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and New York. In March of 1992, Mumbai suffered bomb blasts after the demolition of a mosque by militant Hindus in northern India. On September 11th, 2001, New York City experienced the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers and the death of thousands.

Mumbai- and New York-based artists reflect on these urban catastrophes and the ways they impinge on their work.

Session I: 6:00 to 7:00 “Cracks in Mondrian”
Artist Atul Dodiya in conversation with anthropologist Vyjayanthi Rao (New School University)

Session II: 7:00 – 7:15 “The Cities Blotted into Wilderness: Adrienne
Rich After Ghalib”
Presentation by artist Zarina Hashmi

Session III: 7:15 – 8:00
Artist Julian LaVerdiere, co-creator of the “Towers of Light” that illuminated the WTC site post 9/11, in conversation with Tom Finkelpearl, Director, Queens Museum of Art
image credit:
Towers of Light Over The Empire State Building, conceptual rendering by LaVerdiere & Myoda ©2001. Photography by Roe Ethridge. On behalf of the members of Towers of light memorial Initiative: Bennett, Bonevardi, LaVerdiere, Marantz, Myoda. With Support from Creative Time and The Municipal Art Society.

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Established in 1992 by a generous grant from the late Vera List, a Life Trustee of New School University, The Vera List Center explores the role of the arts in developing a culture of pluralism in the United States. In public lectures and symposia, through research activities and publications, and in programs associated with the University’s art collection, a wide array of visual and performance artists, scholars, curators, and political leaders come together to investigate the intersection of art and politics.

During the year 2004-05, the Center’s programming includes an interdisciplinary exploration of the theme of “homeland.” For a current listing of programs, please visit

Vera List Center for Art and Politics
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