Ossuary brings to a close an almost two-decade long project of recovering a vanished civilization of birds, which began with finding 29 bird skeletons in an abandoned wood stove in 1996. At the end of this final instalment of the series, Brown will enclose the skeletons into individual sarcophagi. This exhibition looks back at the collapse of the bird civilization through reconstructing the battles waged through civil wars and internal strife. The decoration and pattern within the armies signify the great cultural advancements of the bird civilization. Its vanishing, however, leaves only the delicate skeletons preserved in a wood stove like the ruins of Pompeii conserved by volcanic ash. While employing baroque strategies of opulent ornament and excess, the project speaks to loss and the passage of time, both looking to our own history and foreshadowing our future.
This exhibition has been generously supported by the Whitehead Foundation.