Josiah McElheny, ‘JOSIAH MCELHENY: The Ornament Museum. Performance with Susanne Sachsse, Actress, Berlin’, 2016, MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art

About Josiah McElheny

Josiah McElheny explores the limits of memory, knowledge, and history in his elegant glass works. As he explains: “I don’t really believe in history. And I think that, at some level, that’s one subject of some of my work—the fact that history is mutable, which is essentially denying history.” Through his handcrafted glass objects, which he displays in groups and in combination with mirrors, photographs, and text, McElheny evokes our continual striving to construct a coherent understanding of the past and the stories we tell in the process. In McElheny’s work, the infinite reflectivity of glass becomes a metaphor for the act of reflection—on ideas, memories, and history—itself. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006.

American, b. 1966, Boston, Massachusetts, based in Brooklyn, New York