Friday, June 27, 2008

Realisms at the Hirshhorn

The nature of reality, examined through the lens of modern culture’s common cinematic language, gets a second examination at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden during the museum’s final installation of “The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image.”

The show’s first half, titled “Dreams,” debuted in February and focused on the moving image’s ability to whisk viewers out of reality and into a place where imagination reigns and the line between fiction and reality is blurry at best. The show’s second part, “Realisms,” which opened on June 19, is steeped in irony, causing viewers to question what is real and what is false, manipulated or corrupted.

Each part of “The Cinema Effect” is strong enough to stand alone, but together they present a more compelling assessment of contemporary video art. “Realisms” was curated by Kristen Hileman and Anne Ellegood, who divided the show into two sections, one a meditation on global cinema and television and the other a critique of the media’s representation of events. The two sections offer different interpretations of reality, yet present a cohesive exploration of how cinema straddles the line between truth and fiction.


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