Thursday, January 21, 2010


January 21 - February 27, 2010
Opening Reception Thursday, Jan 21 6-8 PM

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by David Maisel. In its first solo exhibition in New York, his acclaimed series, Library of Dust, runs January 21—February 27, 2010. 

David Maisel's Library of Dust features copper canisters in varying states of metamorphosis. The containers are photographed individually, black backdrop in place, each posed like a subject sitting for a portrait. Maisel's treatment of these objects is apropos. The canisters, once stored in a dilapidated outbuilding of a state-run psychiatric hospital, hold the cremated remains of people—more specifically, the unclaimed ashes of the asylum's patients. The Oregon State Hospital, inaugurated as the Oregon State Insane Asylum in 1883, interred the canisters in an underground vault in the mid-1970s. As the vault flooded repeatedly, the canisters—some containing remains more than a century old—underwent potent transformations. The chemical composition of each cremated body's ashes has caused unique and colorful mineralogical blooms to form on its individual copper surface.

The results are dramatic. Monumental in scale, the photographs are at once violently beautiful and spectacularly haunting. We are reminded of Maisel's earlier series, aerial images of environmentally impacted lakes and mines, and his ability to pull us into imagined worlds. The canisters' patterns evoke the celestial or oceanic, something microscopic perhaps or a glimpse of our planet as seen from space. We are drawn by the accidental and transformative beauty in his photographs, but linger over the metaphysical, considering memory and loss, issues of matter and spirit.

David Maisel's Library of Dust has been the subject of a large-scaled monograph released by Chronicle Books in 2008. In addition, the work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Aperture, and ARTnews. Maisel’s photographs have been exhibited internationally and his work is represented in major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. A native of New York, the artist currently lives and works in the San Francisco area.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a truly fascinating and beautiful exhibit - I am deeply drawn to the images shared here.