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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Michael McMillen's Dioramas

We went down to the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara last weekend to see Michael McMillen's latest installation, Red Trailer Motel. It will be on view until March 18, 2006. If you go, be sure to walk on the gravel, get up close to the doors and peer into the peepholes!

Michael has a long history of creating both full-size and miniature dioramas, always amazing, involving found objects and set pieces that he has constructed. We were fortunate enough to catch his big show at the Oakland Museum in 1991.

For a good overview of his work, see here. One of the interviews there takes place in his yard, where "stuff" has been accumulating for decades. More details of the Red Trailer Motel can be seen here at his Los Angeles gallery's site.

Permanent installations of his work can be found in the following locations:
- The Los Angeles County Museum has "Central Meridian", AKA "the garage", an amazing walk-through assemblage of a garage that is part Egyptian temple. See here for an interview with him that takes place in the garage.
- The entrance to the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena has "Motel (Under the World)" featuring an oil-guzzling robot watching TV in his underground room
- The San Jose Museum of Art has The Third Eye, a peephole into a sixties head shop
- The Oakland Museum has Aristotle's Cage, an evocative miniature diorama of a trailer in the desert.


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