The Art Program At AT&T Stadium


Doug Aitken
star (2008)

Neon lit lightbox
45 inches by 119 inches by 10 inches
Edition of 4
Located in 365 Elevator Lobby, South Wall

Everyone knows the saying, "A picture speaks a thousand words." But what about words that are also pictures? Do they say more? Less? Something different? These are some of the questions Doug Aitken's star (2008) invites viewers to ponder.

From across the hall, it is easy to read Aitken's ten-foot-long word. But "star" refers to many things, from the heavenly bodies twinkling in the night sky to actors and athletes, who shine for different reasons. "Star" is a noun and a verb, a word that describes people and what they do when they become the focus of our attention.

From up close, language fades into the background as viewers get lost in the details of the picture that creates the word. The Los Angeles artist and filmmaker has photographed a city at night and digitally enhanced its shining streetlights so that they call to mind the stars overhead. The dazzling image on his neon light-box lets us imagine that we are looking down at the Earth's surface from above while simultaneously staring up at the heavens. The illusion is even more wondrous because Aitken has created it with a picture of an otherwise unremarkable location - not a famous city with a signature skyline but just an everyday place that could be anywhere.

His fusion of words and pictures builds on art made of language by such influential precedents as Lawrence Weiner, Mel Bochner, and Ed Ruscha. Bringing fantasy into the picture, Aitken melds illusion and reality into an experience of thrilling stillness.



Doug Aitken
new horizon (2008)

LED lit lightbox
66 x 70 x 8.25 inches
Edition 3/4
Located outside of Owner's club, west entrance

Doug Aitken, new horizon (Outside of Owner's club, west entrance)

Doug Aitken's works grab the eye in a split second. Just as quickly, they invite second looks. Then the game is on: what had seemed obvious becomes complex and open to interpretation.

From far away, Aitken's new horizon (2009) resembles the shiny blue star on the Cowboys' helmet. The oval glow at its center recalls the glare of bright lights on a glossy curved surface. From up close, however, it is apparent that Aitken's nearly six-foot-tall star is actually a laser-sharp photograph of a city's coastline, shot at night from a plane or helicopter. The Los Angeles artist and filmmaker has mounted his photographic transparency on to an LED light-box. This causes the lights depicted in the image to do what they actually do in the real world: illuminate their surroundings. The picture comes alive as it eliminates the difference between doing and showing, function and form.

Aitken has also used a computer to digitally manipulate the image, making its left and right halves into mirror images of each other. Like a high-tech Rorschach ink blot, the perfectly symmetrical image emphasizes the artifice at the heart of Aitken's photographs and films. Many of his movies unfold slowly, some across several screens, not telling stories so much as evoking moods and creating atmospheres. Like them, new horizon never lets viewers forget that we are looking at a still image, as it draws us into a drama both serene and strange, at once commonplace and extraordinary.

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