Invented civilizations are usually thought of as the stuff of sci-fi novels and video games, not museums.
Yet in 1972, the Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art at Cornell University exhibited “The Civilization of Llhuros,” an imaginary Iron Age civilization. Created by Cornell Professor of Art Norman Daly, who died in 2008, the show resembled a real archaeological exhibition with more than 150 objects on display.
With scams, deceptions and lies flourishing in our digital age, an art exhibition that convincingly presents fiction as fact has particular currency.
Norman Daly had an illustrious career as a painter during the 1940s with his Southwest Series and Mythical Animal Series. Several works from that period are now offered for donation through Museum Exchange, the first digital platform for art donations that matches approved donors with subscribed museums. Three paintings will be available in the summer catalog from July 1 through September 2022.
We are always happy to discuss aquisition of a work, included in the galleries, to a qualified museum or organization. Please contact us if you are interested.
This newly digitized review with photos, first published in the April 1961 issue of the Trojan Horse magazine at Cornell University, reveals many early clues to further development into the vast Civilization of Llhuros installation.
We’re delighted to report that Norman Daly’s renowned Civilization of Llhuros has been included in a new publication written and researched by Antoinette LaFarge, herself a “fictive-art” practitioner. The book presents a heavily illustrated survey of artist hoaxes, including impersonations, fabula, cryptoscience, and forgeries.
Stealthily occupying the remote corners of history, literature, and art are curious fabrications that straddle the lines between fact, fiction, and wild imagination — non-existent people and poets, Edgar Allan Poe’s hot-air-balloon to the Moon hoax, crypto-scientific objects like fake skeletons, psycho-geography, faked inventions, and staged anthropological evidence. From the intriguing Cottingley fairy photographs, “captured” in 1917 by teenage sisters, to the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Codex Seraphinianus, an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, “fictive art” (the author’s term) continues to reframe assumptions made by its contemporaneous culture.
The shift from the early information age to our “infocalypse” era of rampant misinformation has made this genre of art with a sting in its tale an especially radical form. Cataloging historical projects and those from the late 20th and early 21st century that probe this confusion, LaFarge foregrounds the medium’s potential for run-away creativity. At its center, fictive art is secured as fact by creating series of evidentiary objects and by employing the language and display methods of history and science. Using documentary photographs and videos, created historical artifacts and relics, explanatory texts and didactics, lectures, events, and expert opinions in technical language, artists have created constellations of manufactured evidence attesting to their artwork’s central narrative. This dissimulation is temporary in most cases, often surprisingly revealed in a self-outing moment; other times, it is found out. With all the attendant consequences of mistrust, outrage, and rejection, what we can learn from fictive art practitioners both past and present bears on the fragile trust that builds societies, and that when broken, brings them to the brink of chaos.
Readers of A Sting in the Tale will be amused, delighted, and soberly engaged in thinking about what the role of art could be in shaping discord or discourse.
–Foreword by G. D. Cohen, artist, curator, and scholar of visual culture.
Antoinette LaFarge is an internationally recognized new media artist and founder of the pioneering Internet performance troupe the Plaintext Players who holds a special interest in speculative fiction, feminist techne, and alternative histories. Her artwork has taken form as new media performance, computer-programmed installations, public exhibitions and interventions, digital prints, and artist’s books. Recent publications include Louise Brigham and the Early History of Sustainable Furniture Design (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) and Monkey Encyclopedia W (ICI Press 2018). She is a longtime contributor to Wikipedia and is currently Professor of Digital Media in the Art Department at University of California, Irvine.
This title was released on August 24 and is now available for purchase.
We are delighted to announce that The Civilization of Llhuros has been selected for exhibit at the 2019 Istanbul Biennial 2019 which runs from September 14 − November 10, 2019.
Titled “The Seventh Continent” by curator Nicholas Bourriaud, the biennial will feature 57 participating artists from 26 countries on view across three locations in the city: the Istanbul Shipyards, the Pera Museum, and Büyükada Island.
The Civilization of Llhuros will be installed in the Pera Museum, one the three biennial locations. The Pera Museum is one of the world’s most distinguished cultural centers in one of the liveliest quarters of the city.
Created by Norman Daly (1912-2008) in the early 1970’s, and considered to be the first multimedia exhibition in the genre of archaeological fiction, this marks the first exhibit of this scale since 1974 when the full installation was exhibited in Cologne. In 2017, a selection of objects were shown part of the Plurivers show at La Panacée – Le Centre d’art contemporain in Montpellier, France.
Beginning in 2012, Norman Daly’s Civilization of Llhuros has played a starring role in two Cornell University courses. During the spring semesters (2012 and 2013), as part of Prof. Adam Smith’s anthropology course “The Rise and Fall of ‘Civilization’”, students were confronted with and worked with Llhurocian objects. Then, this past summer, Llhuros played a role during the anthropology course, “Art in the Modern World”, which challenged students (many from the College of Engineering) to explore and directly experience the arts.
This new web site has been created to bring the work of artist Norman Daly (1911-2008) to a larger audience. It is equally our hope to place Mr. Daly’s paintings which remain in storage into museum collections, exhibits, and other venues where they may be enjoyed and appreciated by art lovers and researchers everywhere.
The Asheville Museum of Art in Asheville, North Carolina has added the Norman Daly painting Tobias and the Angel to its collection. The painting was in the private collection of Elizabeth Cornell, a long-time friend of the artist. Upon her death in May 2012 in Asheville, her children gifted the museum with the painting in her memory. Exhibition dates will be announced here when they are set by the museum.