After touring the Villa student labs on Friday, Lauren Horelick took me to the Fowler Museum at UCLA, which I had wanted to see for years. Really, I wanted a time machine to go back and see the Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou show curated by Donald Consentino back some 10 years ago, but oh well. “Icons of the Desert” show had some really terrific artworks of that dotted style done by the traditional Aboriginal cultures of Australia.
The gift shop was terrific. I didn’t buy anything at the Getty or LACMA, but at the Fowler I could not stop piling things on the counter.
Surprisingly lightweight box with a nice feel to the hinge mechanism when you open and close it…balance and proportion are so nice on this little stained glass ring box with a mirrored interior bottom. $5.95
Here is a sweet little whistle my toddler will love: 95 cents!
Cunning little skeleton earrings made of sterling silver. The solid bodies have a decent weight to them so they will not become easily tangled when the jointed arms and legs move. These little guys were $47.
Adorable bride and groom glass…Mexican I am guessing. Really terrific little pieces, and a shocking $7.50 each! A cool, arty wedding gift for our friends Mike and Aurah and I’m only a little embarrassed by what a killer bargain it is.
LACMA has that new Broad Museum of Contemporary Art, which has that terrific Jeff Koons big blue balloon dog made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating. Going through the Warhols and Rauscenbergs and Twomblys I had a hard time just enjoying the art because of the anxiety I felt as a conservator thinking about what a pain in the ass a lot of those surfaces are to preserve. But once I got cozy with the Richard Serra sculptures, particularly “Sequence” from 2006, I came back around to enjoying the art again. This huge steel structure looks like it is maybe made of Cor-Ten steel (?) rusted out to somewhat resemble wood veneer. It is sort of a maze-like Mobius strip with no straight lines anywhere and you walk slowly, winding your way through curves with the walls leaning in swooping curves. These curves and lines and surfaces make it hard not to stagger a bit and feel dizzy. There is a certain amount of visual trickery going on, but it is not a clean intellectual kind of trickery like M.C. Escher, but more of a visceral thing. I immediately felt like it would be a great space to sneak into and get married quick, before you were maybe told the museum did not allow it. After a bit, I began to imagine what it might be like to have this experience outdoors, with grass underfoot and sky above, like at Storm King, and the idea gave me pangs of longing and sadness and I had to move on.
The other great experience I had at LACMA was the Japanese Pavillion. Not for the Japanese painting, which I don’t pretend to understand or appreciate, but for the marvellous interior space that has been created there…curves and layers and shadows in blue greys. Walls like shoji screens!
Lucite (?) railings everywhere that made one vaguely think of bamboo in the ratios and fastenings.
Adorable little stools that can be moved to contemplate.
Ability to adjust the light level and yet mostly keep the light off the artwork.
The netsuke room was marvellous, too.
This was the item at the LACMA gift shop that I did not buy. I was hoping just having an image of it would be good enough. I hope this doesn’t haunt me as the “cool thing that got away.” This amazingly intricate and evocative little Japanese-designed cardboard dog comes as a flat kit and must be punched out and fitted together.
I was able to meet with David Harvey in the LACMA plaza for a beer and a chat, and was especially keen to discuss issues of ethics and etiquette and hash over some of the discussions from the AIC sessions.