Not far from the Santa Monica Pier, in an ordinary lot, stands a 34-foot high building constructed of 152 rail cars.
Inside, the rail cars are connected with draped tarps, covering a cool, dimly lit space floored alternately with pine planks and smooth grey stones.
It’s a beautiful place before you even start looking at the exhibit.
The temporary museum houses more than 100 large-scale photographic works and three accompanying 35mm films by artist Gregory Colbert. Each piece plays in a timeless space where animals interact with humans.
With the feeling of life lived deep in the Sub-Continent, Colbert brings peace to the chaotic quest for survival. His human subjects sit and lay docilely allowing animals to come to experience them as part of their shared space – nudging hands, lying together, wandering past. He is – in a way – exploring the power of submission.
Huge, lumbering beasts like elephants, on their knees, as if bowing to their equally subject humans. Beautiful hawks swooping over the outstretched hands of a white-clad woman. A leopard leaning off a canoe to lick the head of a woman swimming near him.
The images are all the more arresting because they are real. No retouching or simulating.
As much as I enjoyed the two smaller exhibits, the main exhibit was a little overwrought for me – pressing the beauty, abandoning the subtlety of the other stories. Still, a lovely one-and-a-half hour tour in a place beautifully designed for the art.