So, I'm late to the discussion as usual...ah well.
I wasn't as close as some were to 9/11 events last year, but I was (in Brooklyn) damn well close enough, thanks.
There's no question to me of whether or not "Tumbling Woman" is art. It's a beautiful, wrenching, terrible piece of expression. That, to me, is part of what art should be. I don't care if the artist created it for the publicity...it strikes a strong emotional note in me regardless.
Let me add mine to the many voices though, that say "what an awful place to put it"!
I didn't and don't know anyone directly involved in the event (alive or dead), and I'd only lived in New York for 4 years...and still, a commerative pile of rubble in the Philly train station makes me cry. As did the displays of sorrow and support from around the world that hung in Penn Station for so long. I had a hard time, sometimes, walking past the fire station on the way to work.
If those relatively innocuous things (a bunch of construction material, crayoned notes from children and community offerings of candles & plants, respectively) can wreck my usually solid composure, I cannot fathom what it would do to me to come upon that statue unawares. Or worse, to have to see it every day...I'd be a gibbering idiot, I'm certain.
Similarly, I cannot fathom what it did to people who saw it in person, or who had to see it every day...and I cannot fathom anyone who thought it was a good idea to put it there. It's like ripping open a barely healed wound; for New Yorkers at least, and I daresay for Americans in general. With a rusted, acid-soaked blunt instrument.
I've never been to the Holocaust Museum, though it is my personal opinion that everyone should go sometime in their lives. It's a place that I know is full of horrible and beautiful bits of perspective on the horror that was the Third Reich. Bits that are bitter and sweet and hopeful and grim and every possible emotion that was felt by the people who experienced it...from within and from without, near and at a distance. I'm extremely grateful that it exists, and that people can connect to those events in history in a visceral, real way.
But I'm equally grateful that it's something I can avoid seeing until such time as seeing it is something I can do.
Last year, for the first two days, I could not tear myself away from the images that were being broadcast non-stop. I kept watching; kept waiting for it to somehow not be true; kept waiting for the entire city to be bombed, to see my home & neighbors die in nuclear blasts. For WWIII, and the utter destruction of everything I know.
I haven't recovered from the experience, though I...like so many others...go on with my life anyway. I haven't forgotten, but I don't want to look at it now, if I can avoid it. Not even an artist's conceptual representation. I don't think that anyone should have to...especially not New Yorkers. But it IS art, and it IS important, and it should be available to those of the public who are ready for it. I honestly hope the piece isn't censored outright, but moved to a less aggressive, forced display place.