At 9:30pm on a Thursday night—at what was maybe our latest-starting de LaB ever?—dozens of intrepid art-seekers opened a nondescript door in a Lincoln Heights strip mall, stepping into what felt like someone’s living room in 1980’s Malibu.
This is Night Gallery, which is only open from 10pm to 2am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Owners Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple explained the concept behind their space and walked us through Samara Golden’s piece Rape of the Mirror, which has transformed the usually all-black walls into an immersive experience inspired by movies like American Gigolo and The Long Goodbye.
Golden’s piece creates a haunting narrative. One one side, a peaceful beach house, sleek contemporary furniture, waves lapping against the beach. At the center are monitors connected to cameras which capture real-time imagery of people walking through the space, making the audience become part of the art—and instantly implicating them.
Moving through the space is like wandering into a nightmare, with other side of the room showing the aftermath of a violent fight, strewn with shattered mirrors and overturned furniture. Glowing throughout the room are videos shot by Golden on her iPhone, including a montage of all the photos taken with her phone from the beginning of the year.
To add to the surreal nature of the piece, all the furniture is built with an insulating material called Thermax, which also serves a practical purpose: It made each piece light enough so that Golden could move it herself. After taking in the various scenes, the crowd wandered the space with beers in hand, like voyeuristic guests at a house party gone wrong.
Outside, the dark storefront and pitch black sign revealed no clues to the art happening inside. Golden’s piece is up until December 8.