Optical illusions abound in ‘Fool the Eye’ at Nassau County Museum of Art

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"Hammer for Salvador Dali" by Vladimir Salamun is one of the optical illusions found in Nassau County Museum of Art's "Fool the Eye" exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Allan Stone Projects)

Get ready to be amazed by an exhibition filled with optical illusions and artistic sleight of hand.

To separate what’s real from what is a clever ruse in “Fool The Eye,” takes an alert eye and the willingness to examine art carefully. Enjoy the visual journey. Take a few steps to the right and observe, draw your conclusions about what you think you see. Then, a few steps to the left reveals a whole new image. The guesses multiply.

Is it a flat surface or a sculpture? Is it a photograph or a painting? Is it made of wood or bronze, rubber or steel? Is it real or faux? Expect the unexpected through moments of fascination, intrigue, shock, and astonishment.

“Fool the Eye,” on view at Nassau County Museum of Art’s Saltzman Fine Arts Building from Nov. 18 through March 4, 2018, challenges viewers to experience the wonder of masterful artistic techniques.

This exhibition includes examples of traditional trompe l’oeil, meticulously painted, hyper-real images, and a wide range of other approaches to illusion. See larger-than-life oversized objects, hypnotic geometric abstractions, sculptures made of unexpected materials, images with mind-bending impossibilities and fine art so seemingly realistic, they are nearly indistinguishable from real things. The magic will provoke debates in every gallery about reality and deception.

Artists throughout the ages have been intrigued by perceptual illusions, devising visual tricks to manipulate the perception of space, incorporating spatial illusion as an aspect of their art.

Featured in this exhibition are 20th- and 21st-century artists whose work has explored illusion, including Salvador Dali, Janet Fish, Audrey Flack, Jasper Johns, Judith Leiber, Roy Lichtenstein, Vik Muniz, Ben Schoenzeit, and Victor Vasarely. 

Guest curated by Franklin Hill Perrell with Debbie Wells, Fool The Eye is the latest exhibition at the Museum. Their previous collaborations for the Museum have included Feast for the Eyes in July 2016, The Moderns: Long Island Collects in July 2015 and Garden Party in March 2014.

Programs to be offered to the public in conjunction with “Fool the Eye” are “Paper Medium Rare: All Things Paper,” a film that is screening daily; “Fool the Eye Meets Fool the Palate,” a Dec. 10 talk by guest curator Franklin Hill Perrell; Brown Bag Lectures presented by Museum Docent Riva Ettus on Dec. 14, Jan. 4 and Feb. 1; Sketching in the Galleries with Glenna Kubit on Dec. 19, Jan. 9 and Feb. 6; and artist Dale Zinkowski in the galleries on March 4 to meet with visitors and answer questions about his work. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered every day at 2 p.m.

Visit nassaumuseum.org/events for details and registration.

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