Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
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The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
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Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
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Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
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Claressinka Anderson
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Fiona Conner
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Show 2
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Deborah Roberts
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Mimi Lauter
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(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
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(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
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Poetic Energies and
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Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
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Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with
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Ashton Cooper
Object Project
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
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Chris Kraus
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Ben Sanders
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iris yirei hsu
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Harald Szeemann
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Ali Prosch
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Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Launch Party
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Adrián Villas Rojas
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Nevine Mahmoud
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Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
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Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
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David Hockney
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Edgar Arceneaux
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
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Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
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Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
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Jessica Simmons
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Julie Wietz
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Paul Mpagi Sepuya
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Ravi Jackson
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Tactility of Line
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Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
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at the Landing
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
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Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
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Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
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Catherine Wagley
Interview with
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Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
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Letter to the Editor
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Trisha Baga
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Parallel City
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Jason Rhodes
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
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Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
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Jessica Simmons
Launch Party February 18, 2017
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Exquisite L.A.
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Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
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Reviews Creature
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Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
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Karl Haendel
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Wolfgang Tillmans
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at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
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Travis Diehl
The Female
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The Rise
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Interview with
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Agnes Martin
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Exquisite L.A.
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Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
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Made in L.A. 2016
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Doug Aitken
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at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
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Mark A. Rodruigez
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The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
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Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
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Exquisite L.A.
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John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
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Carl Cheng
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Joan Snyder
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Elanor Antin
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Performing the Grid
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Laura Owens
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
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Interiors and Interiority:
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Char Jansen
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Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
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Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
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Carter Mull
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Awol Erizku
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
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Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
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Share Your Piece
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Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
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Fred Tomaselli
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Trisha Donnelly
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Bradford Kessler
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
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Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
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White Cube, and
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Tongues Untied
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No Joke
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Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
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Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
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White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
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Erik Morse
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Slow View:
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Mernet Larsen
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John Currin
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Pat O'Niell
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A New Rhythm
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Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
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Henry Taylor
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ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth
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Odd Ark LA
Oof Books
Smart Objects
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Hand and Rose
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Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Mystery Science Thater

Diana Thater at LACMA

Diana Thater, Untitled Videowall (Butterflies) (2008). Six video monitors, player, one fluorescent light fixture, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

Diana Thater, Untitled Videowall (Butterflies) (2008). Six video monitors, player, one fluorescent light fixture, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

What is it about the moving image that so compels us? Or, rather, what is it about the moving image that still compels us? Wonder at film and video technology is perennial, though it has been entrenched in our culture well past the point of banality. But the allure of the moving image rarely fades; conversely, it tends to renew in finer and finer detail. Perhaps it’s simply the thrill of absorbing the active in an engaged, but passive state: the image(s) of time unfolding along a fixed surface.

Watching a projected bird scroll across a formidable interior wall in LACMA’s Broad Building, I could’ve sworn I heard the faint strains of Angelo Badalamenti’s score for Twin Peaks. I recalled the Log Lady’s cold intonation: “The owls are not what they seem.” Diana Thater’s bird is not an owl but a (rather large) falcon, and yet not a falcon at all. Rather, it is the recorded incident light of some falcon somewhere in the recent past. Digitized and scaled up, it plods along the wall by means of an impressive chain-link of optical projectors.

The image of the thing and the thing itself are distinct—we know this to be from Joseph Kosuth’s classic (and schoolteacher-y) One and Three Chairs (1965). In A Cast of Falcons (2008), part of the Diana Thater’s retrospective, The Sympathetic Imagination, at LACMA, the artist opens the thing-ness of the falcon to our consideration. Imagery, whether or not it moves, arguably always does. An image (or a reproduction) is, firstly, a repurpose of past reality: a falsehood, in a sense, cleaved from the real.

The perpendicular walls that bookend the falcon projection play host to two large slides: one an ultraviolet sun, the other a warmly-hued moon. Each alludes in color to the physical conditions of the other: the sun cool, the moon baking. These discrete and curious illusory reversals point toward looking as a pleasure, and a partiality: the thing embeds in our vision without being entirely comprehended. Film tends to distill the sensory down to the primary potency of the visual.

Thater’s work throughout the LACMA exhibition hinges on this tension between the pleasures of looking and the impossibilities of really seeing. Even when immersed in it, as we are in several of Thater’s room-sized installations, the effect is a combined one: of both familiar joys and subtle oddities.

Diana Thater, Abyss of Light ( 1995). Three video projectors, three players, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roman Mensing.

Diana Thater, Abyss of Light (1995). Three video projectors, three players, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roman Mensing.

At odds (with the audience) are the mechanics and staging of much of the work. Several of Thater’s installations feature an oppressive array of projections, catching the viewer in an unavoidable net of light beams. Viewers’ shadows are suddenly hurled into the throws of a swarm of bees, or a group of monkeys. Only the enduring viewer finds himself anywhere other than against the wall in China (1995), hovering in hopes of a fissure where there are only overlaps. Projection frustrates the bodies that enter its beam, and Thater’s work plays up this irritation. In Thater’s hands, the light of the moving image is often flung obliquely across the viewing space, perhaps as a ploy to scrape away at a basic expectation of film: viewed, from a distance.

Elsewhere, Thater toys with the viewer using subtler means. When approaching the cutout door at the base of the wall-sized projection of a temple facade in Life is a Time-Based Medium (2015), the viewer does so in tandem with her two cast shadows. Meeting our own casts at the vanishing point, we next encounter a relatively cramped room showcasing footage of monkeys eating bananas, in front of the same facade we’ve just passed through; movie-theater seats in which we cannot sit tease at the lower edge of the projection’s frame.

Alvar Aalto balanced intimacy and expanse via the tactic of long, low corridors culminating in double height, expansive rooms. Thater’s architectural engagement here is the reverse: a formidable facade giving way to a claustrophobic interior, within which we find only images of the outside, framed in allusion to the (once) most common apparatus of projected imagery—the movie theater. The viewer’s passage through the work here is privy to movements both within and through the layers of the projected image, as cast shadows cancel only part of the image and movement into the interior reveals only a false theater.

LACMA’s staging of the exhibition divides Thater’s work into two camps: the raucous and interactive work in the Art of the Americas building and the slower, more contemplative large-scale pieces in the Broad building. Tucked away in the lobby of the Bing Theater is the Muybridge-inspired The best space is the deep space (1998): a set of ten monitors staged on a curved wall along which a looped ten seconds of a bowing horse plays, each monitor a second or so off from the one preceding.

Diana Thater, knots + surfaces (2001). Five video projections, siteen-monitor video wall, six players, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

Diana Thater, knots + surfaces (2001). Five video projections, siteen-monitor video wall, six players, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

For all the immediate accessibility sparking off of its structuralist pretensions, Thater’s work can skirt the line between elision and aimlessness. The imagery is sumptuous, but essentially secondary, particularly in works like Surface Effect (1997) and Oo Fifi (1992). In these, Thater foregrounds color separation, undoing, and revealing, the structure by which we actually see many printed and projected images. There is a split here between the image and the visual: Surface Effect (1997) achieves this beautifully by pairing the color breakdown with variable speed—flashes of the image here and there align, Thater dissolving the central visual on which the work hangs into the variable sum of its constituent elements.

Thater’s work withholds as often as it gives, yet gives abundantly, particularly in Day for Night, One, Two, and Three (2013). Here, beautifully transformative footage of flowers shot with dark blue filters shows on three nine-monitor video walls. Day for Night is intimate, dark even, and perhaps the crux to understanding Thater’s intentions which elsewhere, like color separation, occasionally, and slightly, misalign. Thater’s work points to the structure of the thing, a thing always necessarily and definitively absent, as is the rule of the image. Thater’s foregrounding of accordion-like openings into the ways in which representation itself manifests meets unabashed visual pleasure in Day for Night; pleasure, that is, without problematic. Perhaps this pleasure, which we encounter so clearly at the exhibition’s culmination, a pleasure in looking culled equally from at what we look and how we go about looking at it, has been in Thater’s exhibition all along.

Diana Thater, Delphine (1999). Four video projectors, five players, nine-monitor video wall, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roman Mensing.

Diana Thater, Delphine (1999). Four video projectors, five players, nine-monitor video wall, and Lee filters, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Roman Mensing.

2016-07-12 (3)Originally published in Carla Issue 4.