The 59th Minute

A woman emerges through the part of an orange curtain and slowly proceeds to the middle of the stage. She stands alone, perfectly still, hands clasped. Her fixed glance is direct and intense, yet unthreatening. Depicted in real time from a fixed camera angle, with the most minimal of action, the video’s simplicity and focus compels one to watch in anticipation for more to be revealed.

But as in much of Macdonald’s meditative work, almost nothing happens, at least nothing that appears immediately visible. It is the title of the work—Healer—that leads one to consider the possibility that this seemingly mundane and elusive performance might be something more. Indeed, the video’s subject is a psychic healer whom Macdonald met in New Zealand, and who has practiced healing for most of her life.

The power of belief is in question: is psychic healing a kind of trickery that any savvy New Yorker is trained to dismiss? Or, can viewers allow themselves to believe that they are witnessing a magical moment; that this mild-mannered woman is actually emitting psychic energy that has the power to heal? As Giorgio Verzotti notes, “Macdonald’s art seems to question the real meaning of things, beginning with the presupposition that their images are inherently deceptive, indeed that they are all connected within a single network of relationships based on illusions.” In the midst of Times Square’s raucous mix of advertisements, hawkers, and con games, the Healer calmly stares out at the city. Seeing may be believing, as the adage goes, but in this case, belief requires more of us, and certainly more than we can see.


Euan Macdonald, born Edinburgh, Scotland, 1965, lives and works in Los Angeles. He has had numerous solo shows in international museums and galleries including Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto; Kunstbunker Kinstverein, Nuremberg; and University Art Museum, Long Beach; as well as major group shows, Treble, 2004, Sculpture Center, Queens, NY; Irreducible, 2005, The Wattis Center for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Seville Biennale, 2004; Gimme Shelter, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Fresh, 2000, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY; and 010101: Art in Technological Times, SF MoMA, 2001. The artist is represented by Cohan and Leslie, NY.

Healer, 2002
July 19 - September 30, 2006