Alter ego to be laid to rest to mark end of “troubles”

LONDON. The artist Brian O’Doherty will mark the restoration of peace in Northern Ireland by laying to rest his alter ego at a ceremony at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) in Dublin on 20 May.

Thirty-six years ago, the Irish-born, New York-based conceptual artist assumed the pseudonym Patrick Ireland in response to the events of Bloody Sunday in which 13 protesters were killed by British soldiers in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. O’Doherty vowed not to sign his works with his real name until “such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland and all citizens are granted their civil rights”.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, O’Doherty said he sees the symbolic burial “as a small flag of hope for other bitter conflicts that they too are not insoluble”. He added: “It’s an unexpected joy. I thought I would die as Patrick Ireland. I’m not the only one. Jackson Pollock’s widow Lee Krasner once told me I’d be him forever.”

Michael Rush, director of the Rose Art Museum in Mass­achusetts, will officiate at the service during which an effigy wearing a death mask will be interred within the museum’s grounds. When asked why Mr Rush was selected to preside over the ceremony, O’Doherty said “he’s a friend and familiar with my work. He’s also a former Jesuit priest and I’m an old boy of that persuasion so it seemed like a good fit.”

Describing the gravesite, O’Doherty said: “I wouldn’t mind it for myself actually. My wife likes it so much that she says she just might throw herself in after Patrick.” Emily Sharpe

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