Wall Street Journal
By Christina Binkley
A bizarre but beloved tradition in art is back. Every night through July and August, human volunteers enact famous paintings and sculptures in an annual performance in Laguna Beach, Calif., known as the Pageant of the Masters.
The amateur actors, their bodies painted and costumed, step into theatrical sets and freeze for 90 seconds, some held in place by straps or props. They create life-size renditions of 40 works including Winslow Homer’s “The Country School” and Cyrus Dallin’s “The Scout.”
In its 82nd year, the performance depends on making three-dimensional people appear two dimensional. Makeup mimics brush strokes on skin. Real hair is covered with painted hairlike caps. Costumes are sewn, then painted. Stage lighting flattens the sets by eliminating shadows and other cues of dimension.
When the lights go up for a minute and a half, it’s almost impossible to tell what’s real and what’s not—unless a character wobbles or blinks.
Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal website.