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Nomadic Museum Comes Ashore in Santa Monica

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Commuters on the PCH near Santa Monica have been privileged to witness the gradual assembly of Gregory Colbert's Nomadic Museum, near the Santa Monica Pier. The temporary museum is composed of 148 empty containers that are stacked in a self-supporting grid. Avant-garde Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed the 45,000-square-foot space specifically to house Gregory Colbert's travelling photography exhibit, Ashes and Snow. A tentlike fabric fills in the gaps between the containers and serves as the roof.

Each day motorists speed by the structure and watch it slowly come together one shipping container at a time. The patchwork of multi-colored iron blocks, suspended in air, brought to mind artwork from Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Colbert's enormous photos — 6 feet by 9 feet — feature people interacting with elephants, zebras and other creatures. The interaction of the civilized and the wild is at the root of the installation, too. “It’s a museum that had to have legs and be put in a setting where it could have a conversation with the city and nature,” he says.

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You can inspect the final results yourself on January 14th, when Ashes and Snow opens on the West coast.