Lap of Luxury
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be Marie Antoinette? To sit in the Palace of Versailles, surrounded by revolution inducing luxury? Nicole Cohen's new installation, Please be Seated, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles offers a means to experience this historical world of extravagance firsthand. Cohen's interactive video installation reanimates the 18th century decorative arts collection of the Getty, creating not only an immersive artwork but also a pedagogical tool that allows museum visitors to experience their vast historical collections in new ways. Visitors are invited to sit down in one of six white chairs (which are abstracted from period chairs within the Museum's collection) and gaze overhead at large plasma screens. Playing above is a video by Cohen filmed in the Museum's galleries, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, and the Nissim de Camondo Museum in Paris. Like Sophia Coppola's Antoinette biopic but better, Cohen has the benefit of both the physical objects and the moving image to transport the viewer into the lap of luxury.