Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 focuses on the ways in which artists have dismantled and reassembled the conventions of cinema—screen, projection, darkness—to create new experiences of the moving image. The exhibition will fill the Museum’s 18,000-square-foot fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, and will include a film series in the third-floor Susan and John Hess Family Theater.
The exhibition’s title refers to the science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s alternate fictional dimension, whose terrain of cities, forests, mountains, and an underworld can be visited only through dreams. Similarly, the spaces in Dreamlands will connect different historical moments of cinematic experimentation, creating a story that unfolds across a series of immersive spaces.
The exhibition will be the most technologically complex project mounted in the Whitney’s new building to date, embracing a wide range of moving image techniques, from hand-painted film to the latest digital technologies. The works on view use color, touch, music, spectacle, light, and darkness to confound expectations, flattening space through animation and abstraction, or heightening the illusion of three dimensions.
Dreamlands spans more than a century of works by American artists and filmmakers, and also includes a small number of works of German cinema and art from the 1920s with a strong relationship to, and influence on, American art and film. Featured are works in installation, drawing, 3-D environments, sculpture, performance, painting, and online space, by Trisha Baga, Ivana Bašić, Frances Bodomo, Dora Budor, Ian Cheng, Bruce Conner, Ben Coonley, Joseph Cornell, Andrea Crespo, François Curlet, Alex Da Corte, Oskar Fischinger, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Israel, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem and Pierre Joseph, Aidan Koch, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Anthony McCall, Josiah McElheny, Syd Mead, Lorna Mills, Jayson Musson, Melik Ohanian, Philippe Parreno, Jenny Perlin, Mathias Poledna, Edwin S. Porter, Oskar Schlemmer, Hito Steyerl, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Stan VanDerBeek, Artie Vierkant, and Jud Yalkut, among others.