|Charles Atlas, The Waning of Justice, detail, 2015, video installation with sound.|
Courtesy of Contemporary Art Space.
This massive work fills two high galleries at CCAD's freshly configured Contemporary Art Space. Atlas presents, edits, combines, and overlays video of several kinds into a work that staggers the viewer one way or the other. One either hastens through the room, shaking head flashing cartoonish question marks; or one pauses with jaw dropped in bafflement. Some will decided to stay and try to answer the rhetorical question, "What the hell is this?"
This is the question, I'll admit at once, that I asked myself when I encountered Atlas's installation. Had I not been accompanied by the curator, Michael Goodson; had I been in a sullen mood, it's easy to imagine myself as the visitor who decides that life is too short and then clears out quickly. Goodson's enthusiasm, based on his deep knowledge of contemporary art and acquaintance with this artist, held me. His excitement assured me that I should linger and think about this: Lucky me! Still, I lack a contemporary curator's acculturated comfort; each work is a new proposition for me, as it is for many gallery-goers. Trusting Goodson's informed eagerness, what was I to make of this?