Photo Diary: Phemomenal at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

All kinds of whoaaaaa: Doug Wheeler’s DW 68 VEN MCASD 11 in San Diego. (Photos by C-M.)

I am belatedly uploading some of my pictures from my recent jaunt to California, where I got to poke around some of the Pacific Standard Time exhibits. I saw some true gems — among them the California light and space show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, which is a total perceptual mindfuck (not to mention, totally bud-worthy). Many of the pieces were all about the experience — namely, the tricks your eyes play on you — so taking pictures was often pointless, hence the limited number of images here.

If you go, be sure to spend some quality time inside Eric Orr’s Zero Mass (at the La Jolla location), a pitch black room that requires at least six minutes for your eyes to adjust — but once they do, good lord almighty! It’s like waking up from a weird dream in which everything emerges from a fog. Other highlights that will make you say Duuuuuude are Bruce Nauman’s Green Light Corridor, which will have you seeing magenta (also at La Jolla) and Robert Irwin’s Square the Room (at the downtown branch), in which a scrim and some white paint are used to create an absolutely mind-boggling optical illusion. While downtown, do not miss the paintings by Mary Corse, which contain subtle reflective surfaces that seem to change with every move you make in front of the canvas.

If you live in Cali, this exhibit is one of the PST must-sees. And yes, it is worth dealing with the parking lot otherwise known as the 5.

Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface is on view at both branches of MCASD (in La Jolla and downtown) through January 22.

This photo is not blurry. This sculpture – titled May 5, 1971 – by Peter Alexander was fabricated to look as if the pillars are blurring into the wall.

This is a show where you spend a lot of time looking at your hands. Above, James Turrell’s Stuck Blue, from 1970.

Playing with transparency and reflection: ST14, 1978, by Larry Bell.

More trippy lightness: Another piece from Wheeler, from 1965.


  1. San-suzie

    Don’t worry about the 5 Parking Lot. Just leave early if you’re going from LA. Really early. By the time you get to the show you’ll be nice and buzzed from the exhaustion and it will be that much better.

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