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Theories on Forgetting

July 9–August 21, 2015
Beverly Hills

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Photo: Jeff McLane

Works Exhibited

Piero Golia, On Record (three days conversation on general matters), 2014 Stone and steno paper, 10 ¾ × 11 × 4 ½ inches (27 × 28 × 11 cm)© Piero Golia. Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Piero Golia, On Record (three days conversation on general matters), 2014

Stone and steno paper, 10 ¾ × 11 × 4 ½ inches (27 × 28 × 11 cm)
© Piero Golia. Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Douglas Gordon, Self Portrait of You + Me (Jackie smiling II), 2008 Burned print, smoke, and mirror, 45 ⅜ × 36 ¾ inches (115.2 × 93.5 cm)

Douglas Gordon, Self Portrait of You + Me (Jackie smiling II), 2008

Burned print, smoke, and mirror, 45 ⅜ × 36 ¾ inches (115.2 × 93.5 cm)

Richard Phillips, Cooking, 2014 Oil on linen, 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm)© Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips, Cooking, 2014

Oil on linen, 24 × 20 inches (61 × 50.8 cm)
© Richard Phillips

Sterling Ruby, TROUGH, 2014 Bronze, 52 ¾ × 46 × 89 inches (134 × 116.8 ×226.1 cm), edition of 3© Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Sterling Ruby, TROUGH, 2014

Bronze, 52 ¾ × 46 × 89 inches (134 × 116.8 ×226.1 cm), edition of 3
© Sterling Ruby. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Ed Ruscha, Rusty Signs—Dead End 1, 2014 Mixografia® print on handmade paper, 24 × 24 inches (61 × 61 cm), edition of 50© Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Rusty Signs—Dead End 1, 2014

Mixografia® print on handmade paper, 24 × 24 inches (61 × 61 cm), edition of 50
© Ed Ruscha

Analia Saban, Claim (from Chair), 2013 Linen on chair and canvas, 89 × 104 × 68 inches (226 × 264 × 173 cm)© Analia Saban. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers. Photo: Brian Forrest

Analia Saban, Claim (from Chair), 2013

Linen on chair and canvas, 89 × 104 × 68 inches (226 × 264 × 173 cm)
© Analia Saban. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers. Photo: Brian Forrest

Max Hooper Schneider, The Extinction of Neon, 2015 Acrylic terrarium, modeled landscape, neon signs, plastic flora, insect matter, resin, and custom aluminium stand, 66 × 42 × 24 inches (167.6 × 106.7 × 61 cm)Photo: Jeff McLane

Max Hooper Schneider, The Extinction of Neon, 2015

Acrylic terrarium, modeled landscape, neon signs, plastic flora, insect matter, resin, and custom aluminium stand, 66 × 42 × 24 inches (167.6 × 106.7 × 61 cm)
Photo: Jeff McLane

Max Hooper Schneider, The Extinction of Neon, 2015 (detail) Acrylic terrarium, modeled landscape, neon signs, plastic flora, insect matter, resin, and custom aluminium stand, 66 × 42 × 24 inches (167.6 × 106.7 × 61 cm)Photo: Jeff McLane

Max Hooper Schneider, The Extinction of Neon, 2015 (detail)

Acrylic terrarium, modeled landscape, neon signs, plastic flora, insect matter, resin, and custom aluminium stand, 66 × 42 × 24 inches (167.6 × 106.7 × 61 cm)
Photo: Jeff McLane

Taryn Simon, Folder: Mirrors, 2012 Archival inkjet print, 47 × 62 inches (47 × 157.5 cm), edition of 5© Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon, Folder: Mirrors, 2012

Archival inkjet print, 47 × 62 inches (47 × 157.5 cm), edition of 5
© Taryn Simon

Jonas Wood, Untitled (Snake Killers), 2010 Charcoal on paper, 31 × 30 inches (78.7 × 76.2 cm)© Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood, Untitled (Snake Killers), 2010

Charcoal on paper, 31 × 30 inches (78.7 × 76.2 cm)
© Jonas Wood

About

Theories on Forgetting maps evolutions of cultural symbolism through the work of eighteen contemporary artists. Questioning how popular images originate, gain importance, obsolesce, and renew, the exhibition surveys a broad range of artworks with source amnesia: strange relics and personal figments reveal the emergence of new languages fertilized by previous ones. These diverse cultural apparitions engage individual and collective memory as subject, action, and material.

The rise and fall of icons occurs cyclically, and sometimes recursively. In Christian Jankowski’s film installation Casting Jesus (2011), the Vatican plays host to a reality show in search of a church-ordained face of Christ, paneled by experts in divinity. In the series Self-Portrait of You + Me, after the Factory (2007), Douglas Gordon appropriates Warhol’s images of “superstars” and burns them away to reveal polished mirrors that reflect the viewer’s consumptive stare.

Recalling life before the advent of the Internet’s vast image bank, Taryn Simon has photographed groups of related postcards, magazine clippings, and other printed images from the famous Picture Collection of the New York Public Library. Each of Simon’s photographs contains overlapping printed matter that she has selected from archival categories such as Mirrors, Abandoned Buildings and Towns, Express Highways, and Waiting, like Borges’s Chinese encyclopedia. Oliver Laric uses 3-D technology to analyze museum artifacts and map trajectories of style, from Greek to Roman to everyday knockoffs. Sourcing objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jonas Wood invents his own archive of antiquity.

With the proliferation of instant news sources, history has given way to a multiverse of potential truths, while new forms of shorthand and social media communications constantly force adaptation to diachronic shifts in language. Mungo Thomson’s appropriation of the format and legacy of Time alludes to the magazine’s intended function as a populist social mirror. In recent prints, Ed Ruscha depicts typical metal road signage, patinated and punctured by corrosion and bullets, while in large-scale paintings, Mark Flood invokes “bit rot,” the blight of digital archives, as it overtakes diametrically opposed voices in television.

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Taryn Simon, “Folder: Broken Objects” (detail), from the series The Picture Collection, 2012, framed archival inkjet print, 47 × 62 inches (119.4 × 157.5 cm) © Taryn Simon

The New York Public Library’s Picture Collection

Joshua Chuang, the Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography at the New York Public Library, discusses the institution’s singular Picture Collection, the artist Taryn Simon’s rigorous engagement with it, and four instances of its little-known role in the history of art making.

Taryn Simon, details from An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, 2007; A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, 2008–11; A Cold Hole, 2018; An Occupation of Loss, 2016; and Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015

In Conversation
Taryn Simon and Teju Cole

This spring, as part of the Lambert Family Lecture Series at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Taryn Simon joined Teju Cole for an online conversation about her artistic practice and creative process.

Still from video documentation of a 2018 performance of Taryn Simon's An Occupation of Loss.

Taryn Simon: An Occupation of Loss

In Taryn Simon’s performance work An Occupation of Loss  (2016), professional mourners enact rituals of grief, simultaneously broadcasting their lamentations from within a sculptural installation. This video by filmmaker Boris B. Bertram documents the April 2018 performance of this work with Artangel in Islington, London.

Black-and-white photograph: Donald Marron, c. 1984.

Donald Marron

Jacoba Urist profiles the legendary collector.

Augurs of Spring

Augurs of Spring

As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.

Alexander Calder poster for McGovern, 1972, lithograph

The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters

Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.