Review: Micah Ganske puts feeling into his dystopian vision at 101/Exhibit


By now the dystopian future is a familiar trope: It seems every other Hollywood movie warns of a savage world overrun by technology. New York artist Micah Ganske’s exhibition at 101/Exhibit treads this well-worn territory but laces it with unexpected feeling.

The front room features Ganske’s drawn and sculpted designs for an outer-space mining colony. The diagrams are starkly schematic, the models precise and impassive.

But all are painted in cheery pinks, blues and yellows that make them feel like toys or preternaturally skilled junior high doodles. Humanoid in shape, like a friendly robot, the structure captures the coldness of technology and our desire to mold it in our own image.


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In the second room the tone is more melancholy. In paintings and a video, Ganske depicts a space colony that mimics rural America, a circular, greenhouse-like structure (reminiscent of the idyllic orbiter from the film “Interstellar”) that contains a lovely strip of countryside replete with houses, lakes and trees. However, this self-contained world is eerily devoid of people and dotted with abandoned cars.

A keening, atmospheric soundtrack by the band Ravaged Hearts gives the video an elegiac tone. Our sense of wonder at such a structure is matched by a sense of sadness at its abandonment: the future, already a ruin.

101/Exhibit, 6205 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 592-7980, through March 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays.