On a recent trip, Doug Aitken had a vision. It was of his house, a bungalow in Venice Beach that he lived in for over ten years and is tearing down to make room for a new house for himself and his fiancée. In the vision, Aitken’s parents are seated across from each other at a table in the otherwise empty house while the roof caves in, the windows shatter and all the debris of the house rain down around them while they remain silent and unharmed in the middle of the chaos. And Aitken, being a skilled filmmaker, translated this vision in to his latest work, the aptly titled “House,” on view now at Regen Projects in Los Angeles. Viewers stand amongst the house’s rubble while watching it, adding a layer of connection to the piece and, perhaps, to try to clue the audience into Aitken’s experience of seeing the vision itself. Ultimately though, dreams belong the dreamer alone.
Museums seem to always be on the lookout for new ways to group and exhibit the artwork already available to them in their permanent collection. Earlier this month, MoMA opened “Abstract Expressionists New York,” with pieces “drawn entirely from the Museum’s vast holdings” – not that there’s anything wrong with that; They bought those pieces for a reason and might as well show them off. MoCA will follow suit later this week with “The Artist’s Museum.” The title of the exhibition is a bit misleading; There’s no separate museum, it’s only meant to connote that the exhibition won’t be focusing on a particular movement but on a particular group of artists, Los Angeles-based artists, of course, from 1980-2010. They leave it to you to find a common thread.
Doug Aitken isn’t any one thing. He’s a photographer, a filmmaker, a sculptor and an installation artist. Sometimes his work is completely tech-based and other times it’s hand-crafted. But the common thread evident in all his work is a fascination with and mastery of new media. Whether he’s projecting video onto the side of a…