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Rita McBride’s laser-beam artwork dazzles in Los Angeles

2 min read  ·  17 Apr 2023

Rita McBride, Particulates (2017). Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of Brenda R. Potter. Installation view. Photo by Joshua White

Rita McBride is an artist who is trending on HENI News after the unveiling of her spectacular laser-beam installation in the refurbished Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

McBride's HENI score, which is partly based on an artist’s media coverage, increased by a massive 166% when the latest iteration of Particulates (2017) went on show in the former bank vault turned university art museum in LA. To stay up to date with news about the artist, see Rita McBride’s HENI Dashboard.

There is a mismatch, however, between the institutional status of the US artist, who is a professor at the prestigious Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, and auction sales of her work. They have been few in number, typically small scale sculptures or drawings, selling for below $20,000 per work.

A Guggenheim fellow and winner of the Lee Krasner Award, McBride has been creating works that blend architecture and sculpture since the late 1980s. Her sculptures often feature sleek, modern lines and she has worked in a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum and glass as well as laser beams.

In 2018, Dia: Chelsea presented Particulates, a sculptural light work partly inspired by the idea of time travel in sci-fi stories. The artist told Art Forum at the time that installing the 16 high-powered green lasers in the darkened, former marble warehouse, felt: “Magical, mesmerizing, and alive. As an artist, I rarely have the feeling that, wow, this thing is bigger than me.”

Dia: Beacon is due to unveil in July 2023 a sculptural work in wood by the artist, which it has recently acquired. McBride’s Arena (1997)—a modular sculpture of functional tiered seating that is activated by the audiences and performers—will go on view in a central corridor of the vast, former print works turned art gallery in upstate New York.