Sunday, 9 February 2014

Vincent Price had style, Getty had cash.

Following the LACMA Film workshop we popped into the Vincent Price Art Museum and stumbled upon some openings of great two shows. Corporeal Impulse, a group show of sculptures made predominately with clay by Los Angeles based artists, featured some really tactile pieces, beautifully grotesque figurative work and quirky un-functional objects. I would imagine it will be a difficult for gallery attendants to stop people touching the work.
Japanese artist Macha Suzuki's show This is the End was great too. His sculptures were like a fusion of Scottish artists Kenny Hunter's, Chad McCail's and Fraser Gray's. 
Here's some pics.

Worth checking out his work, these pics don't do it justice.

The rest of the museum displays some of Prices collection over three really fantastic exhibitions, Form and Function in the Ancient Americas, Modern Expressions of Figure and Form and the Makings of Mexican Modernism. The last was my personal favourite, containing work produced as a rebuke to the repressive government of Porfirio Diaz and some very famous prints by José Guadalupe Posada that have been reproduced and tattooed on people the world over. There's a decent wee article about a show I missed at the Royal Academy here.

We visited the villa of another great collector of historic art and artifacts today. The J.P.Getty Villa is ridiculously opulent, beautiful, educational and staffed by some really nice people (Mario the attendant and the guy who served us coffee from the wee booth and who had to put up with a particularly demanding customer, Does tea taste better if the sugar is put in it by someone else?). 
Unfortunately however, the cafe thinks there's nothing that could be deemed offensive by selling 'Peasant bread' for $3.75.

The finish of every aspect of the villa is perfect. From intricate marble floors, to the hand painted ceilings.

The interpretation panels were short and informative, with brief technical descriptions of production processes where they were needed. Very well considered. The captions below are mine.

This is the face of 'an old parasitic sponger' from 200-300 BC.

Two drunks on a wine cup. The man on the right may be part of a divine cult as he has the proper hat.

Did the greeks invent the laptop in 100 BC?

An ancient wall painting of a peacock. If you know my current preferred subject matter for the paintings I produce you may now realise how unoriginal I am.

A older gentleman from Dallas informed me he had been staring at this mosaic for so long he began to 'trip his balls off' to which his wife agreed.

This is maybe cupid, his wings have been lost. He looks pretty fierce I reckon.

A disdainful face on a ceramic (possibly plastic) pot in the education room circa 2014.

This mummy was really impressive. It's from 50-100 AD and combines Roman and Egyptian traditions, Roman in painting the face of the deceased on it and Egyptian in the mummification. The Getty conservation team have CT scanned it and discovered a bird mummified inside along with the body of a young man named Herkleides (its written on the mummy above his toes). They reckon he may have died from a blow to the back of the head as he has a skull fracture.

Obligatory pictures of fish.

I also learned a the name given to decorative Roman animal skulls, bucrania, which I shall be trying to drop into conversation tomorrow when I meet the Getty Education team at the main museum. 

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