This was the invitation for the preview of the artistʼs exhibition and film ʽNew York New Workʼ in 2001. The cards were mailed out just before the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11. So many people phoned in, disturbed by the image of the Twin Towers, that the gallery decided to cancel the previews and exhibition out of respect.
ʽCalling Cardʼ shows an image intended by the artist as a light-hearted comment on consumerism, transforming the Twin Towers into an American wearing a snap-brim hat, waving with one hand and holding up a credit card like ID with the other.
The viewersʼ perception changed after 9/11. Some could see the plane and the explosion in the painting. Interested always in the nature of perception, it was intriguing for the artist to note how an event of this magnitude could entirely determine and alter the meaning of his painting. It became an ominous and sombre comment on what had happened, the image and some other parts of the film taking on an uncanny prescience.
Whether, as time passes, the film can begin to be viewed closer to its original intention, as an art work referencing the people and character of the city, or whether the work will always remain largely defined by the events of 9/11 remains to be seen. Nonetheless, despite the weight of this symbolic significance, the filmʼs content stands up to interrogation in light of changed ideas and altered perceptions.
The film is a modern masterpiece, defying categorisation. Neither cartoon nor animation, yet unfolding to reveal the process of painting, the realignment of shapes into recognisable but often surprising configurations. It can either inform, opening the viewerʼs eyes to New York and its inhabitants or deepen his or her understanding of it through affectionate satire as well as pathos and observation.