new-york

Carol Bove and Janine Lariviere

The Horticultural Society of New York

Beauty, reflection, mimesis, vanity, knowledge: Comprehending all of these concepts, it’s no wonder the Narcissus legend has proved a hardy subject and allegorical theme for artists for centuries—to say nothing of its metaphoric utility for philosophers and critics. But the myth’s material denouement, those namesake flowers that sprout from the site where the prepossessing young hunter perished, has had less of an afterlife.

Carol Bove made narcissus blooms a focus of her exhibition at the Horticultural Society of New York this past summer, in the form of an accordion-style picture book by artist Janine Lariviere, which was displayed unfolded not far from a cluster of four of Bove’s new sculptures and one collage (there were actual flowers from both artists’ gardens, too, early in the show’s run). This volume, titled Twentieth Century Narcissus (all works 2009), documents the introduction

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