Richard Ross’s “Architecture of Authority” at ACME.
Richard Ross’s eerie color photographs depict the interiors of churches, prisons, mosques, interrogation rooms and other architectural sites considered to be institutions of power. Each photo focuses on the structure of an empty space, so that Ross’s rooms feel haunted by our imagined idea of any preceding events or activity. Many of the settings allude to a narrative that includes violations of human rights, such as the segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, while some focus on less politically charged spaces like a school classroom. The seldom-seen interiors of immigration and customs holding rooms are particularly powerful and poignant. By offering rare glimpses into spaces that are secret or hidden, and encouraging our gaze to linger, Ross turns us into voyeurs — but with a purpose. This is the first time this series has been shown and will coincide with the release of a book with the same title published by Aperture. The opening is June 30.
6150 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. | www.acmelosangeles.com | (323) 857-5942 | Through July 28
Mathilde ter Heijne, No depression in heaven (video still, 2006)Mathilde ter Heijne at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
In this new work, Mathilde ter Heijne continues to investigate the role of the artist and the role of women in society by using a special-effects dummy made to look exactly like her. This time the dummy, dressed as a character from an accompanying video piece, stands and sings a Sara Ogan Gunning song about women coal miners. The real Mathilde stars in a single-channel video (based on Depression-era women’s films) in which she plays both a rich and a poor character involved in a shootout. An interesting thing occurs when we realize that the poor woman is the one we are supposed to identify with and that hers is the preferred identity of the time; but it is her rich counterpart — a single, independent career woman — who is shot. Also shown is Women to Go, a project in which ter Heijne pairs images of unidentified women with stories of an unusual life, making them into black-and-white post cards that viewers are allowed to take with them.
5795 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City | www.vielmetter.com | (323) 933-2117 | Through July 28