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Do you believe in magic? Artist Glenn Kaino wants to know

September 23, 2010 | 11:30 am


Through his latest project, opening Thursday at the gallery LAX Art, artist Glenn Kaino has discovered some parallels between the nether-realms of magic and contemporary art.

Both can involve extreme-sports performance stunts, with Kaino calling David Blaine "the Chris Burden of popular culture."

Both can be highly self-reflexive, with practitioners in the fields steeping themselves in the history that came before them.
Both are small, though the magic community feels to him much smaller: "You can spend two months in the community and meet everyone major in the field," he said. Or as his magician friend Derek DelGaudio quipped, "All the real magicians in the world could fit inside one wing of LACMA."

And both contemporary art and magic require a certain amount of faith, or at least a suspension of disbelief, lest you see the whole thing as one big sham.

"There’s a difference between a bar magician who can fool you about where coins are situated, and someone who can really make you feel that something is vanishing," said the artist, who immersed himself in the world of magic last year after feeling disillusioned with contemporary art.

Click here for more about the artist's quest to believe in magic and the gallery show that resulted from it.

-- Jori Finkel

Photo: Glenn Kaino plays against himself in a five-way carnival-style mirror in his studio. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times


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