World Trade Center, 2001, 8 x 8 x 44.5 cm, World Trade Center debris, plexiglass

The New York Times will be exhibiting “World Trade Center” from September 8th through the 12th. This exhibit is open to the public and will also be featured in the paper’s weekend supplement on September 11, 2011, in a special tribute for the tenth-year anniversary.

One of the most lauded works from Parnes’ oeuvre, World Trade Center utilizes actual debris from arguably the most important event of the early 21st century. “On September 11th,” the artist recalls, “I watched from my roof in real time the display that unfolded in New York City. After the second Tower collapsed, something inside compelled me to immediately descend to the unfolding chaos downtown. I snuck into the off-limit zones, knowing the labyrinth of streets in the area and experienced the drama first hand. Equipped with a dust mask and camera, I found only a few fellow New Yorkers roaming the area in a seemingly mesmerized daze. It was this particular contrast of the intensity of hours earlier, with so many survivors seeking refuge from the wreckage that I found so disturbing. Silence accompanied the morning breeze, sprinkling bits of someone’s morning paper and various fragments.”

About the Artist: The increasing effect of commercialism and its global resonance has produced a forced dialogue between the East and the West. This cultural discourse stages a unique relationship between the ancient and the contemporary.

Born in the West with immediate family roots in Iran, my vision reflects one’s internal struggle to define identity and can be traced to early childhood experience. As a conceptual artist, the catharsis of creation has compelled me to examine and portray the perceived differences and similarities of the world I was born in as well as the echoes of the eras of my forefathers, allowing me to concentrate on crafting a series of works that revise and explore one’s understanding of “The Orient.”

The term Orientalism has been commonly described as the Occidental West’s long time attempt to depict the Middle East.

Fantasy-driven concepts and themes, often idealized or romanticized, provided for a continuous melding of these cultures, producing imagery that continues to affect our perception today. Reaching far beyond the borders of the United States and the Middle East, my art assesses the modern, the mystic, and the visceral reality of a “Neo-Orientalist.”

Today the delineations between the East and West are increasingly blurred, with the cardinal points both exporting and interpreting their respective societies. As an artist seeking to define Neo-Orientalism, my work continues to explore this intriguing correlation and contribute to the intersection of culture and modern identity.”