Review: Around and around with Marcus Herse at Commonwealth & Council


Marcus Herse’s two-hour-plus video loop “Almost ther (Sunset)” (misspelling intentional) puts us in the back seat of a Honda Civic slowly circling through the parking structure at the Glendale Galleria.

Projected wall-size at Commonwealth & Council, it is a grand if utterly mundane tableau: Beyond the back of the driver’s head, an endless stream of parked cars and the occasional pedestrian slip through the triptych of the vehicle’s windows.

It’s boring as heck but remarkable for the way it strips the parking lot of its narrative “drive.” There is no looking, no finding, no satisfying stop. The act is stripped of desire, but also of frustration. There is only a serene and relatively constant movement and a barely perceptible darkening — the “sunset” of the title.


Perhaps this open-endedness is why Herse omitted the “e” in “Almost ther.” We will never arrive.

This ceaseless motion may be a special circle of hell reserved for shopaholics, but it also inspires wonder at the magnitude and absurdity of this labyrinthine structure built for parked cars.

It is also a meditation on the passage of time. As the car moves, we see not only the path ahead, but also, in the rearview mirror, a smaller, constantly shifting image of where we’ve been. Moving forward doesn’t mean leaving the past behind; it simply changes the view.

Commonwealth & Council, 3006 W. 7th St. #220, L.A., (213) 703-9077, through Aug. 30. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays.