Have you ever wondered whether there’s another world out there, one we just can’t quite see? There’s something about the fascinating spectacle of three-dimensional art that continues to captivate generation after generation. Inaugurated on July 15, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents 3D: Double Vision, the first comprehensive North American exhibition of three-dimensional artworks. 
“At this moment, when everyone is talking about virtual space and immersive art, 3D: Double Vision invites the audience to dissect the complexities of vision and perception”, says Michael Govan, CEO of LACMA. Indeed, this exhibition epitomizes the concept of immersive art. The artwork requires the audience’s participation and interaction; it draws in your eyes and makes you experience a different visual reality.

LACMA takes a historical approach to chronicling 3D artwork. Their collection spans from the 1830s to present day. The inception of three-dimensional works began with the stereoscope, a popular technological device that revealed various pleasing images – faraway lands, famous monuments, and the occasional comic. While it started as a scientific endeavor, the wider population fell in love with the pictures and the stereoscope became a staple of Victorian entertainment.

The 20th century saw the next advance in 3D technology, setting a precedent for Hollywood’s 1950s boom and the creation of popular cameras. Now, we are capable of lenticular printing and holography, the pinnacle of 3D imaging as they create dimensional effects without requiring glasses. 3D: Double Vision includes an expansive look at the historical progression of 3D technology and artwork, featuring vintage and contemporary works.
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If you can’t wrap your head around how exactly this works, worry not! LACMA takes care to explain the science behind our ability to perceive three-dimensional images. We all possess the optical principle of binocular vision. Our brains synthesize the things we see into a single, volumetric image; we process the information our eyes receive to create one coherent picture.

This exhibition also offers an exciting interactive experience: viewers will be able to use and examine 3D devices. Various works require the use of such devices, including Victorian stereoscopes, View-Masters, modern lens-based devices, disposable anaglyph (red-blue) glasses, and polarized glasses, while some more advanced works don’t require any optical apparatus.

LACMA is excited to offer this interactive experience: Britt Salvesen, head of the LACMA Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department, says, “In an important sense, these artworks require the participation of a spectator to be fully realized. The ultimate goal is a 3D image, which exists only virtually, in the spectator’s mind. 3D: Double Vision is a show that must be experienced in person.”
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Lucy Raven’s Curtains stands out as a highlight of the exhibition. She’s created an anaglyphic film installation in which two images move towards each other horizontally. This is designed to ignite the audience’s desire for optical fusion. Raven doesn’t provide much relief though: while the two images do finally connect, they move through each other quickly, satiating the audience’s desire only briefly. Wanting to portray relevant images, Raven has chosen to depict workers in China, India, Vancouver, London, and Los Angeles to reflect the growing network of digital 3D conversations.

Any Los Angeles lover is sure to be fascinated with this exhibit. Govan states that “This exhibition underscores LACMA’s longstanding commitment to exploring art and technology in the museum’s exhibitions and programming. 3D: Double Vision brings together the realms of art, science, mass culture, and entertainment, and is a microcosm of Los Angeles itself.” This exhibition presents a different vision of the city and offers a thrilling new path to seeing a different world. 
3D: Double Vision will inaugurate on July 15 and will be on view until March 31, 2019 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art of the Americas Building (Plaza Level), Los Angeles.
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