Stan Douglas is an artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. His film and video installations, photography and work in television frequently touch on the history of literature, cinema and music, while examining the "failed utopia" of modernism and obsolete technologies. His works often take their points of departure in local settings, from which broader issues can be identified. Making frequent use of both analog and digital technologies, Douglas appropriates existing Hollywood genres (including murder mysteries and the Western) and borrows from classic literary works (notably, Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville, and Franz Kafka) to create ready-made contextual frameworks for his complex, reimagined narratives that pertain to particular locations or past events.
For Stan Douglas‘s twelfth solo exhibition at David Zwirner, the artist debuted a new film set in a reconstruction of the Columbia 30th Street Studio. This legendary recording studio was opened in 1949 by Columbia Records in an abandoned Armenian church on East 30th Street between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan. Nicknamed “The Church,” it was home to some of the most renowned recordings of the era up until its closure in 1981, including Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue (1959), Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited (1965), and Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979). Other artists using the studio were Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Glenn Gould, Billie Holiday, Vladimir Horowitz, and Charles Mingus, among many more, with musical genres ranging from classical to musicals, jazz, pop, and rock.