Laguna Beach artist Jorg Dubin’s concept for a Sept. 11 memorial sculpture was unanimously endorsed Monday by the city’s Arts Commission for installation in Heisler Park in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack.
Mayor pro tem Jane Egly attended the proceedings and praised the finalists for their creativity. Dubin’s installation titled “Semper Memento” awaits approval by the City Council on July 12.
Dubin, commissioned previously for several other local public art works, was among a pool of finalists that included Larry Gill, Louis Longi and Marsh Scott, all also veterans of previous public art awards. Ten entrants responded to the residence-restricted commission. It called for an artistic incorporation of two girders salvaged from the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center for a monument based on a theme of “remembrance, respect and reflection.”
Dubin’s winning design incorporates two beams weighing 612 pounds and measuring six feet joined into an angular arc over a high grade stainless steel globe that will be placed on a pentagon shaped platform.
“The beams are the majority of what this piece is about and present closely to how they may have been found in the rubble,” Dubin said. The project is not about the artist’s hand, but infusing physical forms with symbolism and an ability to connect all who come to reflect upon it, he said.
By placing the sculpture on a greenery-filled pentagon platform, Dubin pays homage to the more than 3,000 victims of the attack, some of who also perished when a plane was crashed into the Pentagon and others who died in the crash of a highjacked jetliner in Shanksville, Penn.
The New York-New Jersey Port Authority shipped the two girders to Laguna under a program distributing mementos from the towers to municipalities across the United States at the initiative of fire Capt. Andrew Hill. Local arts patron Mark Porterfield defrayed costs for shipping and is picking up the $19,000 commission for the project.
Dubin was chosen on the strength of his public art experience, which is now reflected in an elegant design that, albeit simple, contains a wealth of symbolism. Commissioner Ken Auster summed up his colleagues’ reaction by saying that, while all the pieces stood on their own merit, Dubin’s piece touched both intellect and emotion on the deepest level. “For my own personal reflection, as an artist and a person and someone who is emotional about art, I could see something in the piece that hit all the buttons,” he said.
Dubin’s immediate challenge is getting the beams into his studio within a week and moving forward with the execution of his design. “It’s a huge responsibility to not only execute the piece in a timely manner, but also keep in mind that the piece shines a global light on this community and that its historic significance is brought into even sharper focus by all who participated in bringing the girders here,” he said.
A not to scale computer generated rendering of Dubin’s proposal for the Heisler Park site. Photo courtesy city of Laguna Beach.