Working in film, video, and installation, Diana Thater has been an innovator in her medium for 20 years and is best known for creating complex visual and spatial environments. Between Science and Magic is a simple, and beautiful, interpretation of “movie magic”-a century-old expression that still conjures the mythology of Hollywood filmmaking.
Thater’s project is conceived as a brief history of cinema. Thater’s new and innovatory piece recreates, and repositions, a seminal moment in Los Angeles history, when downtown LA was being dreamed into a gilded metropolis and a theater district was built to rival New York’s Great White Way. Renowned magician Greg Wilson appears as if filmed within the famed Los Angeles Theatre, the most elaborate of the movie palaces built between 1911 and 1931 on Los Angeles’s now-defunct “theater row.”
Thus, the viewer experiences a palpable tension between past and present. The repeated performance of an archetypal magic trick-pulling a rabbit out of a hat-is captured in tones of black, white, and grey; only the magician’s skin tone and the rabbit’s eyes have a trace of color.
A pioneering filmmaker, Thater’s work is held in many public collections including: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at such prestigious institutions as the Vienna Secession; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Kunsthalle Basel; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago.
Most recently, Thater’s gorillagorillagorilla-a poignant study of human and animal behavior-was premiered at the Kunsthaus Graz, in collaboration with the Museum of Natural History in London, to celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Between Science and Magic is Thater’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in over 10 years.