Party’s murals were up at the Hirshhorn for four months, and Aquin found it heartbreaking to paint them over. “When we work in museums, we want to conserve absolutely everything, we’re obsessed with that,” he said. “And that’s not the nature of things, that’s not how history functions.”
But Party’s decision to make murals with pastels is in keeping with his interest in ephemerality over longevity. “You basically paint with dust,” he said. “You can remove the entire surface of the painting by blowing on it.”
In “Sottobosco,” he’s drawing his admirers’ attention to a little-known 17th-century painter, and then back even farther to the earliest recorded paintings—which, in essence, were site-specific murals. Party’s temporary installations appeal to different sensibilities than his highly sought-after works on canvas and paper: They raise the possibility that the most profound art experiences are transitory.