War, loss, and remembrance are themes of Whitney Humanities Center exhibition

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The ways in which the dead are remembered — particularly those killed in battle — will be explored in the latest exhibition at the Whitney Humanities Center.

“Simonides: Photographs by Norman McBeath, Texts by Robert Crawford” will be on view through Dec. 7 at the Gallery at the Whitney, 53 Wall St.

An ancient Greek poet, Simonides created works focusing on war, loss, and remembrance. He made epitaphs for people, including friends, killed in the Persian Wars. Written in what is regarded as a “dead language,” the work of Simonides survives often in tiny fragments.

“Robert Crawford’s versions of Simonides’ epitaphs in the Scots tongue give the work a vernacular edge and bring out its pithiness, while heightening our sense of the loss of language, as well as the language of loss,” say the organizers, adding, “The apparent timelessness of [Norman McBeath’s] black-and-white photographs encourages a contemplation of loss and remembrance.”

This exhibition is one of several artistic commissions marking the 600th anniversary of the founding of Scotland’s first university, the University of St. Andrews. A larger version of the show was one of the highlights of the 2011 Edinburgh Art Festival. During 2012, the exhibition will tour several venues including Oxford, St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Yale, where it is being shown in conjunction with the Franke Seminar “Contemporary Reception of Greek and Roman Classics,” taught by Professor Emily Greenwood.

The Gallery at the Whitney is open to the public Monday and Wednesday 3-5 p.m. or by appointment at 203-432-0670 .

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