This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Plants and Mammals, at the Horticultural Society of New York, 2008. The exhibition featured several sculptures and a collage by Carol Bove accompanied by Twentieth Century Narcissus, a book project by Janine Lariviere. In addition, daffodils from the artist’s garden were periodically on view during spring in the gallery.
A fold-out, accordion-style picture book, Twentieth Century Narcissus chronicles the introduction of narcissus cultivars (commonly known as daffodils) throughout the twentieth century. The book is organized as a pictographic time-line, with each page representing one year. The flowers included in the book are varieties that are currently available, with images clipped from bulb catalogs that arrived at Lariviere’s door.
"The photos of flowers in this book have been taken from the gardening catalogs that came to my house between 2002 and 2005. I composed a timeline with the photos according to each flower's date of origin. By no means is this an exhaustive encyclopedia of the twentieth century's daffodils. I hoped to have flowers for each year but instead found the flowers in varying concentrations throughout the century. The daffodil bulb itself is a kind of record. It has the potential to persist indefinitely, blooming again every year. The maintenance of this living library depends on people keeping track of the flowers and choosing to grow them. Current and past tastes, breeding innovations, and the ease of growing, all contribute to determining what remains from the past to present." - Janine Lariviere