Lost Art is a catalog of post-modern artworks that have suffered a material destruction, displacement, or disappearance. Conceived as a print archive, this book collects the documents and remains of 25 lost works ranging from Duchamp’s “Bicycle Wheel,” lost a century ago, to a Warhol film destroyed by police, a suite of prints from Richard Prince that hung in the World Trade Center, and Tracey Emin’s shattered “Always.” Manifesting Lucy Lippard’s observed “dematerialization of art,” all that remains are documentation and secondary sources. The book includes color plates and descriptions for each of the works, followed by a collection of notes from Nosenzo falling somewhere between art-history and personal account.
“How can this sublime be achieved if there is a void, if the object is lost? Again this question arises: can documentation and fragments of lost artwork be sufficient to stand in as a surrogate? Or maybe, on the contrary, can the evidence of death itself summon the sublime?”
That these lost works have been forged by the curator is never mentioned in the publication.
Grounded in research and committed to assimilation into the art-world as a specific object, the exhibition catalog as artists’ publication allows for a unique type of subversive interaction. While art forgeries are usually made for material gain, here the act is fruitless. This reversal emphasizes the idea rather than the commodity nature of the artwork, reiterating efforts that have already been made by most of these artists in their concept-driven practice. Ultimately the project, built up of layers and contradictions, is essentially a bound and printed commitment to an exceedingly complex waste of time.
Published by Printed Matter, 118 pgs, 13 × 20 cm, Softcover,