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Doug Aitken Underwater Pavilions

Underwater Pavilions is Aitken’s most recent large-scale installation. It consists of three temporary underwater sculptures floating beneath the ocean’s surface off of Catalina Island, which is located 22 miles from Los Angeles. Geometric in design, the sculptures create spaces that can be experienced by swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Part of each sculpture is mirrored to reflect the underwater landscape, or seascape, creating a kaleidoscopic encounter for the viewer, while other surfaces have a rough, rock-like texture. The environments constantly change with the currents, time of day, and other variables. Thus, this living artwork operates as an observatory for ocean life—and ocean destruction—and creates purely perceptual encounters. Both aesthetic and scientific, Underwater Pavilions puts the local marine environment and the global challenges around ocean conservation in dialogue with the history of art, inviting the viewer to write a contemporary narrative of the ocean and to participate in its protection.

Underwater Pavilions is presented in tandem with MOCA’s exhibition Doug Aitken: Electric Earth. It is produced in partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a space where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and to collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. Further information about Underwater Pavilions is available at To learn more about Parley for the Oceans and how you can get involved, please visit