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Now on Display

"Intimacy and Discomfort" -- When intimacy between strangers becomes too intimate, things can get a little weird. That much is evident in this show featuring multimedia works by Laura Burns and Teresa Diehl. More than a passive art display, the exhibit serves as a mirror into the viewer's own feelings toward close, personal contact. Diehl's theme is pure sensation, before it gets complicated by rational thought. Divided among four sections, the untitled projects work together, creating a womb-like atmosphere with dark lighting and soft furniture (a waterbed and foam seat) -- which, depending upon your level of squeamishness, may be the last bit of comfort you feel. After passing through the first two rooms, which include an extremely close-up, slow-motion video of a mother breastfeeding (you can't see much beyond mouth and nipple), the mother/baby theme changes to man/woman. This time, the zoomed-in video shots include mouth on ear, followed by ice being rubbed on the head of a penis. If that makes you wiggle in discomfort, then you probably wouldn't have taken part in Burns' "Other People's Beds" photo series/social experiment, in which the artist visited about 90 people -- many complete strangers -- and asked them to photograph her naked in their beds. In addition to the photographs, Burns documented their varied reactions on an audio recording (headsets are available). Burns' two other projects are "Faces," a collection of headshots featuring women with their eyes closed, and "Hotel Mexico 70," photographs of objects and markings left in Mexican hotel rooms. Both are open-ended emotional questions for the viewer to answer. Though the two artists previously were unacquainted, their art speaks the same language. There's no need for words, which often create only confusion -- and discomfort. (Through June 27 at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St. 954-921-3274.)
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