It’s not easy to translate 20 years of an artist’s work into a single book. It’s even harder if that artist happens to prefer the more ephemeral mediums of artistry. Doug Aitken is best known for his engrossing multimedia installations. He’s projected films against the facade of the MoMA (Sleepwalkers), and did the same at the Hirshhorn Museum (Song1). He’s dug a crater in the floor of a New York gallery (100 Yrs), constructed a sound pavilion in the Brazilian jungle to listen to the earth’s rumbles (Sonic Pavilion) and orchestrated Station to Station, the cross-country train trip that held pop-up events in nine different cities last year.
All this is to say, you kinda had to be there. To appreciate Aitken’s work, you have to see it, hear it, and feel it, which which makes it a particularly difficult challenge to lasso the feelings and aesthetics of his oeuvre onto paper pages. And yet, that’s exactly what Aitken did with his newly released monograph, 100 Yrs.