Photos: Gregory Colbert.
Over the next few months, hundreds of thousands of animal lovers, art lovers, and the odd Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy will take a left off Santa Monica Boulevard and head down toward the Nomadic Museum, an extraordinary structure made entirely of reusable and recyclable materials by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. With shipping containers for walls and brown paper beams for columns, the museum rises above Santa Monica Pier like a modern-day cathedral — complete with a vaulted ceiling, dim lighting, and horrible insulation.
The building is a destination in itself, but its main purpose is to house “Ashes and Snow,” an exhibition of the animal photography and film work of Canadian artist Gregory Colbert. Inside, Colbert’s photos hover on both sides of a long center aisle, facing inward like the stations of the cross. At the end of the aisle, where the altar would be, a large screen plays an hour-long black-and-white film on repeat.
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