reviews

  • Trevor Paglen, Gold Artifact, 2013, etched gold-plated disk, 4 7⁄8 × 4 7⁄8 × 3⁄8".

    Trevor Paglen

    Smithsonian American Art Museum

    In his famed description of Paul Klee’s 1920 monoprint Angelus Novus, Walter Benjamin conjured an “angel of history” who is blown by the storms of progress into the future while facing backward toward the piling wreckage of the “catastrophe” that is the past. Tellingly, a photograph of the back of Klee’s work is the first picture on Trevor Paglen’s Gold Artifact, 2013. Shot into orbit on a communications satellite, the etched disc bears one hundred cynical images of and about humanity, which it almost certainly will outlast. Like Benjamin’s angel, Paglen surveys the visible and not-so-visible

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