Monday, 17 February 2014

Recap #2 LACMA and the Charles White Elementary School

After the previous evenings Badu/Killer excitement, I got back to doing what I was funded to come here to do and went and tried to 'steal ideas' from successful arts professionals. (not how it was worded in the application)

In the afternoon we visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to speak to the Curator of Special Initiatives, Jose Luis Blondet and Miranda Carroll, Director of Communications about the LACMA public engagement programme. Jose has to be one of the most enthusiastic people I have met and I can see how he manages to convince all those at LACMA to invest in the large scale projects he manages to pull off; making sweets from the fabric of the building and asking visitors to eat at their on risk, 200 tonne sand displacements involving articulated lorries, supporting artists to making casts of Rodin sculptures )conservationists nightmare I would imagine).
I'm only sorry I didn't time my visit better to catch one of these performances. The time Miranda and Jose took to speak with us was hugely appreciated and it was good to speak to people concerned with producing spectacular events with academic rigour and intelligence rather than spectacle for spectacles sake.
Speaking of time, we failed to leave enough of it to get a proper look around the galleries. LACMA is huge. We managed a quick walk around the grounds and dived in to see the contemporary football exhibition where one of the warders eagerly encouraged us to visit a cinema space in the show as it was the signature piece. I should have know what was coming. The 'most successful' contemporary artist to come out of Scotland, Douglas Gordon's video portrait of the 'most successful' French footballer, Zinedine Zindane, scored by the (I'll keep with it) 'most successful' Scottish post rock band Mogwai, named after the 'most successful' cute 80's alien that turns into a monster when wet.
The fact that I could tell the warder something about the piece made me feel 'most successful' or smug if you want another adjective. It's a great bit of work and worth catching for the soundtrack alone.

We also popped in quickly to see some fantastic ancient Pre-Columban artifacts from Mexico in a room designed by artist Jorge Pardo, who also designed the LACMA Film Lab we visited last week.

There is an article about the exhibition and the design here. 

A life size, Diego Rivera sketch. That guy could draw. The weight of his lines are bold and perfect.

This is my new favourite painting. Roberto Matta's Burn Baby Burn. His visual description of the LA riots and the horrors of the Vietnam war. There's more info on it here.

I wasn't so impressed with the new contemporary acquisitions exhibition, especially after reading the intro panel with what I consider to be its too dense artspeak. A sample '...reflect the proclivity of contemporary artists to reject medium specificity and experiment with new forms'.
When I go to a gallery I want to spend time decoding the artworks not the introductory panels and I think this type of language is a huge turn off for many people who don't have a good knowledge of art terminology. But maybe that's the point. 

Following our rushed visit round the main LACMA campus we drove up Wilshire Boulevard to the old Otis College of Art and Design Building which is now the Charles White Elementary School. 

Bit of a dodgy mural this one. Hand painted advert for a fight.

Wilshire is a interesting street.

So... to get into the LACMA offsite gallery based in the Charles White Elementary School you have to first walk through the school reception and playground, which is unusual. It's funny how primary schools smell the same all over the world. The gallery is brilliant. We were met by Amber Edwards, who grew up nearby and I believe attended Otis and now works at the school/gallery for LACMA. 
It's a fantastic facility that every school should have. A high spec gallery, with workshop space that hosts exhibitions of really good work created by the school students and a well know artist, alongside their own original work and other relevant pieces from the main LCMA collection.
It's brilliant. The artist in residence is currently Kaz Oshiro the abstract work and constructed canvas sculptures he has produced with the kids are really great. There's also a great piece by Ingrid Calme in the show alongside Kaz/the students pieces.

This is an airbrush bike.

Here's a wee video of the exhibition being constructed.

There's a pretty famous Kent Twitchell mural in the playground. Pretty inspiring place for a kid to go to school and Charles White was a pretty inspiring guy himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment