Art Review


Although Go Fish! (see page 67) fills the first floor at the Museum of Contemporary Art, there's another show in the gallery upstairs. What do you see when you look over there? (2000 Cooley, East Palo Alto, California) is a photo-based installation by Galia Shapira, an Israeli artist living in Colorado. This solo exhibit was organized by MCA director Cydney Payton and supported by the Office of Cultural Affairs of Israel and the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles.

Shapira began her piece by documenting a low-income apartment complex that had, over the decades, provided housing for succeeding waves of immigrants. Payton says Shapira approached the project as though she were a sociologist recording the everyday activities at the complex. Eventually, the contact sheets were blown up to an enormous size and sandwiched between thick sheets of clear acrylic. The sheets are held together with visible bolts and mounted on wall brackets tilted back against the wall (see detail above).

An informative gallery guide to the show reveals that the complex was demolished in 1999 to make way for a shopping center. This fact gives Shapira's installation an added poignancy. The total effect is elegant, evocative and all-encompassing. What Do You See remains on display through January 6.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia