Why Have There Been No Great Hologram Artists?

Louise Bourgeois, untitled, 2014. Getty Museum
The Getty Museum is showing, for the first time, three holograms acquired as part of a group of 105 donated by collectors Guy and Nora Barron in 2018. The Barrons funded the C-Project in which 20 high-profile contemporary artists were invited to create glass-plate holograms. The three on view, by Louise Bourgeois and Ed Ruscha, are part of "Museum Acquisitions 2019: Director's Choice."

Are holograms art? The question reprises are photographs art? The reception of holograms has been volatile. In 1992 New York's Museum of Holography closed after a 16-year run in the cultural capital of record. The closure was blamed on anemic fundraising and existential concerns about the status of holograms as photography and/or art. The following year the museum's 1500-piece collection was acquired by the MIT Museum, Cambridge, Mass. The MIT collection includes the first laser hologram and documentary material by Dennis Gabor, the Daguerre of holography.
Bruce Nauman, First Hologram Series: Making Faces (F), 1968
The best known artistic holograms are those produced by Bruce Nauman in the late 1960s. Mostly forgotten is Salvador Dalí's foray into the medium, a hologram of rockstar Alice Cooper (1973). But it remains fair to say that no artist of great reputation has ever achieved that status through holography alone. Meanwhile artists are exploring a profusion of new digital technologies that can do full-color interactive 3D better than holograms can. (Coachella-style "holograms" of Tupac, etc. are not holograms at all.) It's possible that holography's moment has already passed.
Salvador Dalí, Portrait of Alice Cooper's Brain, 1973
Nonetheless the three holograms in "Director's Choice" are unexpectedly compelling, holding their wall space next to paintings and sculptures. Other artists in the Barron's C-Project gift to the Getty include Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Ross Bleckner, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Dorothea Rockburne, Robert Ryan, and James Turrell.
Ed Ruscha, The End, 2017. Getty Museum