Disparate Vision: Preston S. Cohen’s Lightfall

Željka Pješivac


This study investigates the relationships between the geometry of space, theory of perception and theory of narrative in the context of Preston Scott Cohen’s Lightfall – the atrium space of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. The starting premise of the study is that it is possible to see the atrium space of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as an inversion of the atrium space of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York. Hence, the main hypothesis is that Cohen’s Lightfall transgresses the language of modernist architecture, moving from the constitution of exhibition space for pure gaze to the constitution of exhibition space for disparate vision. This means breaking with the homogeneous, universal space and time concepts of totalitarianism with the aim of building space-time concepts based on a disjunctive synthesis of narratives, ideologies and discourses of different societies, cultures and arts, or building space-time concepts in a continuous process of becoming. How does the architecture of Cohen’s Lightfall reject the totalitarian modernist interior of the museum as an institution designed solely for the observation of the work of art? How is the theory and practice of contemporary art and culture reflected in the aesthetics of Lightfall and, vice versa, how do the aesthetics of Lightfall influence the practice of contemporary art, culture and society? In other words, in what way does Cohen’s atrium space set the work of art not as autonomous, isolated, neutral and without context but as a unit of discourse? How does Cohen make the transition from the constitution of artistic space for pure gaze to the constitution of artistic space for disparate vision? This study draws on the theoretical investigations of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Gilbert Simondon and Pierre Bourdieu.


Article received: December 23, 2016; Article accepted: January 20, 2017; Published online: April 20, 2017

Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Pješivac, Željka. "Disparate Vision: Preston S. Cohen’s Lightfall." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 12 (2017): 71-80. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i12.168


pure gaze, disparate vision, Guggenheim, Lightfall

Full Text:



Biti, Vladimir. Pojmovnik suvremene književne teorije. Zahreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1997.

Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Historical Genesis of Pure Aesthetic.” Accessed April 12, 2016. https://gep21.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/5-bourdieu_the_historical_genesis_of_a_pure_aesthetic_in_the_field_of_cultural_production2.pdf

Cohen, Preston S. Contested Symmetries and other Predicaments in Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001.

“Cohen, Preston S. – Herta and Paul Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art.” Accessed March 11, 2016. https://vimeo.com/75836815

Cohen, Preston S. “Museum as Genealogy”, with Responses by Nicolai Ouroussoff. Accessed March 10, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5Ij6la0MbQ

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition. London, New York: Continuum, 2001.

Derrida, Jacques. The Truth in Painting. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Jormakka, Kari. Eyes that do not See – Perspectives on Functionalist Architectural Theory. Weimar: Verlag der Bauhaus, Universität Weimar, 2011.

O’Doherty, Brian. Inside the White Cube: the ideology of the gallery space. California: University of California Press, 1986.

Pješivac, Željka. “Afektivna topologija: Maks Rajnhard kuća (1992) Pitera Ajzenmana.” AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 3 (2013): 83–89.

Pješivac, Željka. “Spaces of Territorialization in Fritz Lang’s Film Metropolis (1927).” AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 7 (2015): 85–95.

Rajchman, John. Constructions. Cambridge, London: The MIT Press, 1998.

Šuvaković, Miško. Diskurzivna analiza. Prestupi i/ili pristupi diskurzivne analize filozofiji, poetici, estetici, teoriji i studijama kulture i umetnosti. Beograd: Univerzitet umetnosti u Beogradu, 2006.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i12.168


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

AM Journal of Art and Media Studies ISSN 2217-9666 - printed, ISSN 2406-1654 - online, UDK 7.01:316.774

Contact: amjournal@outlook.com

Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

Indexed in: ERIH PLUSEBSCODOAJ, and in The List of Scientific Journals Categorization of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia (M51-2019). Beginning with No. 12 2017, AM is indexed, abstracted and covered in Clarivate Analytics service ESCI.