“36 Views Of One World Trade Center” Art Book

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My name is Brenda Berkman. I was the first female NYC firefighter (1982), I was a 9/11 first responder, and I retired as an FDNY Captain in 2006. Over the last 10 years, I have been honing my skills as an artist and living a lifelong dream. In 2015, I released “Thirty-Six Views of One World Trade Center”, a series of 36 separate stone lithograph images I drew and printed to document of the rebirth of lower Manhattan since 9/11. The series, a reflection of my life's work, received critical acclaim. As a means to bring the prints to more people I plan to release them as part of a high quality collector’s book. Proceeds from all book sales will go to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Please help me make this dream a reality.

Artist Statement

After the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9-11-01, a debate arose about what should be done with the WTC site. Proposals included: no building except a memorial; rebuilding the Twin Towers; creating completely new building designs. As someone who was at the World Trade Center as a fire officer on 9-11 and lost friends and colleagues that day, I was conflicted about what should be done – I was apprehensive about what kind of buildings might replace those that were destroyed. As it turned out, very little was built on the original 16 acres for many years although the replacement for 7 World Trade Center (just north of the 16 acres) was completed and opened about 5 years after 9-11.

As I was leading tours of the World Trade Center as a volunteer for the World Trade Center Tribute organization (9-11 Families Association), I watched the new One World Trade Center (originally to be named the “Freedom Tower”) start to rise. I began to be fascinated by that new building – I liked the design of it far better than the original Twin Towers. As glass went in, I could see reflections of the clouds on the building. I watched in trepidation as huge I-beams were hauled up the side of the building.

Although I started making stone lithographic prints in 2008, I never made any art that had as its subject either 9-11 or the World Trade Center until 10 years after 9-11. For the tenth anniversary, I organized a collaborative art project with 13 other artists based upon my stone lithograph self-portrait – the figure was bent over as if under attack.

The idea of making a series of stone lithograph prints showing the building and views of the new One World Trade Center took hold of my imagination. I began studying prints that other artists had done of cultural and architectural icons including Japanese artists Hiroshige (“One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” [Tokyo]) and Hokusai (“Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji”) and French artist Henri Riviere (“Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower”). I decided my series would be “Thirty-Six Views of One World Trade Center.” 

And so I began to create these original small edition lithographs. The first print in the series includes a “ghost” image of the 9-11 figure towering over the WTC site. After three years of work, the final print in the series of thirty-six is complete. Many of the prints include references to earlier series that have inspired me. It has been both a thrilling and daunting project!

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Project FAQ

What is a stone lithograph print?

I begin by drawing the image in reverse on a piece of fine-grained limestone. The drawing is covered with an etch of gum arabic and acid which binds it to the top of the stone. Then the image is inked and run through the press to transfer the inked image to the paper. This series is printed on Hahnemühle bright white paper.

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