Friday, September 11, 2009

Matthew Rose’s "A Book About Death" at The Emily Harvey Foundation



Inspired by Conceptual artist Ray Johnson, Paris-based Matthew Rose asked hundreds of artists (both personally and via an open call using social media) to submit 500 copies of an original work in postcard form for his current endeavor entitled A Book About Death: An Unbound Book on the Subject of Death. The only requirement was that the postcards contain the words “A Book About Death.” On view until September 22nd at the Emily Harvey Foundation in SoHo, the show is unique in that each visitor may take away all the postcards and assemble them – or not – in whatever form they choose. Boxes filled with postcards line the floor of the gallery in neat rows (see above left) in what the artist described to me yesterday as rather tomb-like, in keeping with the theme of the show. Artists such as Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneeman, and Eric Andersen, among many others, contributed their work to the exhibition.

A Book About Death synthesizes the traditions of the Fluxus movement with the ephemeral nature of our time on earth. Ray Johnson’s death in 1995, Emily Harvey’s death in 2004, and Matthew Rose’s mother’s recent passing, combines with the commemoration today of the tragedy of September 11, 2001 as a poignant reminder that both nothing and everything last forever.

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