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Echo Park stereoscopic museum showcases 3-D arts and technology

A historic collection of stereoscopic viewers and cameras | Eric Kurland/3-D SPACE

By LUCY GUANUNA

Echo Park —  Many people share fond memories of clicking through 3-D images in a View-Master as a kid. It seemed a simple technology. You insert the reel into a plastic stereoscope and pull down the lever to see the different 3-D images jump out at you.

What most people don’t know is the 3-D technology used in a View-Master is nearly the same technology used to make stereoscopic comic books come to life and explosions seem realistic in 3-D action movies. Eric Kurland, 3-D filmmaker and enthusiast, now wants people to learn more about this technology at 3-D SPACE, a mini-museum for stereoscopic photography, art and film in the small basement of a commercial building on Alvarado Street

“3-D can be gimmicky in a lot of contemporary films, but there’s so much more to it, and I hope I can interest people in learning that,” said Kurland.

The idea for the museum came to Kurland in 2012 after he and 3-D historian, Ray Zone, purchased three truckloads of 3-D artifacts from an estate sale of the late filmmaker, Dan Symmes. Since then, Kurland has also inherited Zone’s collection and that of the Oregon-based 3-D Center for Art and Photography, which closed in 2012.

Kurland was already active in the 3-D enthusiast community as president of the L.A. 3-D Club. But he started organizing film screenings and other pop-up events as 3-D SPACE after the organization became a nonprofit corporation in 2015.

Kosmo-Clack Camera | Eric Kurland/3-D SPACE

For three years, 3-D SPACE was a nonprofit without a home. But in 2017 Kurland was able to secure a 400-square-foot basement space on Alvarado Street, in the same building that houses the Echo Park Film Center.

3-D SPACE will use the gallery for rotating exhibitions made up of pieces from their museum collection. But  they will also display work by contemporary 3-D artists, movie screenings, classes and presentations.

3-D SPACE is a “Starter Museum”

Since the museum opened its doors earlier this summer, Kurland has held open hours as often as possible and allows visitors to schedule hour-long visits by appointment to see the exhibit, “3-D SPACES: An Eclectic Collection of Stereoscopic Artifacts.” There’s also a collection of View-Masters and 3-D cameras that date back more than 100 years, coin-operated viewers and 3-D comic book and movie memorabilia.

“It’s a perfect starter museum,” said Kurland who hopes to eventually expand into a bigger space and hire a paid staff.

In the meantime, Kurland will continue to run the space on his own, sharing his knowledge and expertise with those who will listen.

“In some ways 3-D is sort of magical, people don’t understand how it works. They just know they can see it,” Kurland said. “I’ve always loved technologies that appeared to be magic.”

3-D SPACE is at 1200 N. Alvarado St. near Sunset.

3-D SPACE founder Eric Kurland | Russell Brown/3-D SPACE

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4 comments

  1. Although the space is small and quaint, it is well worth a visit! Eric is so knowledgeable and you can tell he loves to share this simple, yet so effective technology!

  2. I’m so excited to find out about this!! I love steroscopic viewers!! Can’t wait to visit!!

  3. I visited today and it was amazing! So much fun!! Eric is a super tour guide. I can’t wait to see thier future exhibits.

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