Art is always changing, evolving alongside society and culture to reflect the interests, issues, and technologies of the time. In the always-connected environment encapsulating modern life, digital screens have largely replaced newspapers, magazines, books, and even physical experiences such as shopping or visiting a movie theater.
This evolution has now made its way into the realm of fine arts, with Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) hosting a digital art exhibition wherein guests can experience Marco Brambilla’s Heaven’s Gate, which he describes as a “video monument to Hollywood’s veneration of glamour while retelling the history of the world in seven distinct phases.”
Brambilla’s highly emotive and fluid representation of humanity’s perpetual quest for the ultimate fantasy, depicted through the lens of Hollywood imagery and iconography, is presented in the museum’s Bank of America Gallery where the seven-minute video enthralls visitors on a floor-to-ceiling video wall composed of seven class-leading digital displays from LG Business Solutions USA. Working with Marc Billings of Blackdove, developers of the category-defining digital art platform for residential and commercial use, as well as museums and art galleries, Brambilla leveraged LG’s display technology to ensure that every visitor experiences the colors and movement of Heaven’s Gate precisely as the artist intended.
“In the same way that an artist’s imagery can inform viewers about the culture and attitudes of the time period, the medium through which they create and display their art often reflects the available technologies, from cave drawings to sculptures to canvas paintings to precision-engineered digital displays,” Billings explained. “As digital artwork has grown from a niche pursuit to a major global force over the last several years, artists developing algorithmic visuals and video pieces have recognized that this is one art form where the appearance and viewing experience can change dramatically, depending on the specific digital display used for presentation.”
As the creator of Blackdove, Billings was perfectly positioned to help Brambilla choose and procure the ideal digital display solution to highlight Heaven’s Gate. The video art piece is vertically oriented at a roughly 5:1 ratio, giving viewers a literal top-to-bottom view of Hollywood’s stylistic evolution.
Comprising seven of LG’s high-end fifty-five-inch Full HD digital displays (model SVM5H) that feature a nearly-invisible 0.44mm bezel, the unique video wall canvas appears as a single cohesive screen, allowing viewers to become enrapt in the artwork with no glare, image separation, or techno-clutter.
“Having used LG display products for previous installations, we knew this exhibition would perform flawlessly with consistent color and clarity,” Billings added. “Blackdove is designed to enable the delivery of digital art to any display, but LG’s unique webOS platform allows us to create especially elegant installations. It’s essentially a computer running inside the display that can be loaded with any number of proprietary apps or content, eliminating the need for separate content devices and wiring.”
Marco Brambilla is one of the world’s foremost digital artists, and he noted that the technology partners he chose to work with were critical to the success of the finished exhibition.
“After a year in the making, I was thrilled to see Heaven’s Gate at Pérez Art Museum Miami,” Brambilla said. “The totemic display could only be made possible with LG’s ultra thin bezel monitors sourced and powered by Blackdove. The installation looks amazing, and I’m very happy to have worked with Marc and the Blackdove team.”
The title “Heaven’s Gate” refers to Michael Cimino’s 1980 film whose excessive production costs bankrupted United Artists and effectively brought to an end the era of director as auteur, paving the way for the studio domination of the medium, which has continued to the present-day. Employing spectacle to describe the hollowness of spectacle, Heaven’s Gate enacts Marshall McLuhan’s famous phrase, ‘the medium is the message.’ Through this absorbing work, Brambilla highlights the sensory overload of today’s compendium of popular culture to engulf the viewer’s senses with a hyper-saturation of imagery that is almost impossible to sustain.
“Marco’s work is as apt to be presented at the Sundance Film Festival as it is in a major international art museum or the walls of public spaces,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “He has consistently probed the world of cinema through video art with versatility, careful to mark the distinctions of both. While his work has always pushed the boundaries of new technology to visually engage with the screen, his recent work in virtual reality will literally create ‘new ways of seeing.”
For Billings, Brambilla, and Blackdove, the digital exhibition is a groundbreaking event that sets the stage for artists and the industry to rapidly introduce digital artwork to museum environments. Leveraging the exploding popularity of digital art over the last few years, most notably NFTs that enable ownership of unique, single-production digital creations, the Heaven’s Gate exhibition explores both the creative potential of the medium and the cultural reception of digital experiences as fine art.
“The history of art is deeply intertwined with technological progress, and LG is proud to deliver next generation tools that enable new modes for creative expression,” said Dan Smith, vice president, business development, LG Business Solutions USA. “Marco Brambilla’s work is a sign of what’s to come, and services such as Blackdove are breaking the mold with innovative ways to obtain and display artwork using LG technologies.”
For museums and artists, this natural evolution toward digital media presentation may spark interest in a new, younger generation of art-enthusiasts who have only experienced a world dominated by screens. As Blackdove expands to support art installations in more museums, galleries, public spaces, and private homes, Billings is relying on LG to push the envelope of technology and offer incredible displays that enable simple content control and industry-leading visual performance.
Marco Brambilla: Heaven’s Gate is organized by Franklin Sirmans, PAMM Director, with Maritza Lacayo, Curatorial Assistant and Publications Coordinator, in the Bank of America Gallery. This exhibition is presented with support from Ann Blackwell and Cornelius Bond. Ongoing support for PAMM’s project galleries from Knight Foundation, and additional support from JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Blackdove is gratefully acknowledged.