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Left Behind: OmniMax Cinema, Caesar’s Palace, Graveyard Time

September 23, 2011

Jane and Louise Wilson (British, b. 1967), Omnimax Cinema, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas Graveyard Time, 1999. C-print mounted on aluminum (with plexi box), ed. 1/4 70 7/8 x 70 7/8 inches. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, 2010.

When giving a tour of the installation Left Behind, a selection of photographs from the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, I focused on a photograph by Jane and Louise Wilson titled OmniMax Cinema, Caesar’s Palace, Graveyard Time. The large photograph shows the entrance to the Omnimax theater. The red patterned carpet reflects in the shiny ceiling tiles. Two lit staircases flank the doors. The Wilsons photographed Caesar’s Palace, a busy Las Vegas casino, in the middle of the night, absent of people. Where are the tourists, the gamblers? The activity typical of a Las Vegas casino, even during the graveyard shift, is in stark contrast to what we see.

The Wilsons use the emptiness to subvert our expectations and create an eerie feeling.  Summing our discussion of how palpable the absence, a visitor stated, “I think it is me they left behind.”

-Katie Klein, Gallery Educator

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