Our So-Called Reality at the Marciano

The Marciano Art Foundation has reinstalled its temple-museum for about the third time since opening last spring. The marquee offering is "Olafur Eliasson: Reality Projector," an installation in the first floor's cavernous Theater Gallery. There doesn't seem to be a title for the rotation of works on the top floor, skewing anxious, dangerous, and epistemological (fake-newsy).
One fantastic room shows two paintings apiece by Lari Pittman and Jacqueline Humphries. The Pittmans are Flying Carpet with Petri Dishes for a Disturbed Nation (small detail at top of post) and Flying Carpet with a Waning Moon Over a Violent Nation (below). They incorporate guns, rifle sights, nooses, and exit wounds. Both are from 2013, predating the more recent atrocities.
Lari Pittman, Flying Carpet with a Waning Moon Over a Violent Nation, 2013
Jacqueline Humphries, untitled, 2015.
Two 2016 Rashid Johnsons, plus 2017 works by Frances Stark (Censorship Now) and George Condo (Collusion) fall more chronologically into the Trump Resistance School.
Rashid Johnson, The Long Dream, 2016
Frances Stark, Ian F. Svenonius's "Censorship Now" for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Spread 6 of 8 (2017)
Small detail of George Condo, Collusion (2017)
Eliasson's Reality Projector (2018) is also topical, or can be read so. It's Plato's Cave, a world in which shadows have substance. You stand in an immense dark room to view abstract cinema projected on one long wall, to the accompaniment of a stochastic and portentous soundtrack.
But there's no film, no video, no bitstream. Two robotic spotlights glide among colored gels installed in the triangular struts supporting the building. Gaze away from the screen, and there's a bacony above, with visitors having a better view of base reality than you do. Reality Projector is an Oskar Fischinger film reverse-engineered by Bernini (the Baroque sculptor was also the original punk-the-audience impresario).
Next month the Getty Villa will open a show of contemporary art inspired by Plato (such as Jeff Koons' Play-Doh). I can't imagine they'll have anything more spot-on than Reality Projector is.

The lobby outside Reality Projector has two additional Eliasson light works, also brand-new.
Installation view of Olafur Eliasson, Reality Mosaic (2018)
Olafur Eliasson, Yellow atmosphere projector (2018)


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