I remember David Zwirner Gallery back in the 1990s, before Chelsea, when the New York art world was much smaller and more manageable.
Inside Doug Wheeler’s Synthetic Desert, the traffic of New York City, the din of the museum, the chaotic noise of everyday life — it all evaporates.
Coming from the deserts of New Mexico, where he lives in Sante Fe, Doug Wheeler’s visits to New York, seldom and auspicious, are greeted with the sort of awe usually reserved for mystics.
The dream of a completely immersive visual experience haunts modern art. The most famous example in painting, Monet’s Waterlilies installation, dedicated in Paris’s Orangerie in 1927, has behind it a rich history of popular entertainment: the panorama, invented in the late eighteenth century and a mass entertainment medium in nineteenth-century Paris; similar productions elsewhere include the immense Civil War cycloramas produced in the U.S. before 1900.
Earlier this week I posted a review of MCASD’s current show Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface. Reading this, you might have thought, “Cool! Perceptual deprivation! Now I’ll know what it was like doing LSD in the 1960s and 1970s without worrying about passing a drug test at work!” Which is all well and good. But you also might have wondered, beyond the entertainment factor, why should you care. What exactly is the Light and Space movement and why is it important?