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"Library of Dust" is photographer David Maisel's exploration of loss and remembrance through his unsettling images of copper canisters, each containing the cremated remains of patients from an Oregon State psychiatric hospital (interestingly, the same hospital used in the filming of the movie "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest") which were never claimed by next-of-kin. The canisters, dating from as far back as the nineteenth century, were discovered in a vault on the hospital grounds that had flooded repeatedly over the years. This exposure to moisture created chemical reactions between the copper and the remains inside, which formed a secondary bloom. Brilliant white, green and blue corrosion contrast against the still bright copper of the canisters, revealing tragic and unexpected beauty in this, the most unlikely of places. "Library of Dust" is both a quietly astonishing body of fine art and a monument to the lost memory of the unknown deceased.
David Maisel is perhaps best known for his large-scaled aerial photographs of sites that have undergone massive environmental transformations. His work is represented in many prominent collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the International Museum of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and others . Maisel received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and his MFA from California College of the Arts, in addition to study at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. His monograph The Lake Project was selected as one of the top 25 photography books of the year by the critic Vince Aletti. His second monograph, Oblivion, depicts tonally reversed views of Los Angeles. The recipient of an individual artist's grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Maisel was a visiting artist at the Getty Research Institute in 2007 and an artist in residence at Headlands Centre for the Arts in 2008. His work can be seen at www.davidmaisel.com. Michael S. Roth is President of Weslayan University. Geoff Manaugh is Senior Editor at Swell magazine and the author of BLDGBLOG. Terry Toedtemeier is the Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum.
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