Obituary, a work by Joseph Bartscherer, is a single large-scale sculptural piece that displays in chronological order every issue of The New York Times since January 1, 1990 that carries a front-page obituary. The newspapers are unfolded and laid flat on Plexiglas panels resting a few inches from the floor. These panels comprise a grid that creates a modular expanse of ankle-high images and text. Presented side-by-side, the newspapers form an expanding field of words and images, an unexpected cast of portraits and life stories caught in the daily stream of pictures and news.
Approximately 300 newspapers are included in the exhibition with additional space left open to accommodate future entries. The sculpture continues to evolve, even as the impermanent newsprint deteriorates. Reading the texts stimulates the recollection of history as the narrative of the present unfolds. Significant funding for Obituary was provided by Wellesley College Friends of Art.