The Museum of Contemporary Art is actually comprised of three locations. The first is the MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood; the second is the MOCA on Grand Avenue; and the newest location is the Geffen Contemporary. There is actually a fourth location in Nevada. Yes! Nevada. The artist, Michael Heizer's artwork titled, "Double Negative" is a work of land art located in the Moapa Valley on Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada and was acquired into MOCA's permanent collection in 1985. If the artist's name rings a bell, it's because I recently wrote about his other monumental piece of artwork at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; CLICK HERE TO READ THE BLOG ARTICLE. I should note that time didn't permit me to visit the Pacific Design Center, or the Geffen Contemporary (or visit Nevada), so this post will only include my visit to the MOCA on Grand Avenue. I also visited the Broad Museum (Read On & See Below.) The Geffen Contemporary is just a 15-20 minute walk from MOCA Grand and admission to one museum grants you admission to the other museum.
The MOCA on Grand Avenue housed an entire gallery room with Mark Rothko paintings. While I can appreciate Rothko's artwork and acknowledge its importance in art history, his paintings are not my favorite. I do love all the colors, and I also love the shapes, however, there is ambiguity, blurring of lines, that doesn't hit me the right way. Rothko wanted viewers to stand close to his paintings to see the vertically stacked bands of color seem to float upon colored grounds.
This large painting on two panels is by the artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby. It's called "Garden, Thriving" and was completed in 2016. Her artwork was quite fascinating to see in person and I've included a detailed photograph of the two-panel painting. Originally from Nigeria, the artist layers photographic imagery within the chairs' fabric and the plant leaves. The images are pictures of Nigerian pop stars, models, military dictators, celebrities, and the artist's own personal photographs. To create this artwork, she uses acrylic paint, transfers, colored pencils, and collage on paper. There is so much to see in this painting, you could look at it for 10-20 minutes, or longer!
I should also mention that the mural that is wrapped around the exterior of the museum is by this same artist!
Three other works by Jackson Pollock from MOCA’s permanent collection, were also on view. These were great examples of the diversity and range of materials Pollock used in his artwork from watercolor to collage.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California
This building is simply spectacular. Frank Ghery is one of my favorite architects and this is a perfect example of why that's the case. (In addition to all the awards he has won for his incredible architectural design). Frank Gehry was asked to devise a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003. Reflecting Gehry’s longtime passion for sailing, the structure’s exterior features are expanses of stainless steel that hover above Grand Avenue. Frank Gehry has devoted his career to disrupt the very meaning of design within architecture. From the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and now the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Frank Gehry has proven time and again the beautiful magic of his whimsical, cutting-edge design.
The Broad is one of the finest contemporary art museums I have ever visited. Founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum houses more than 2,000 works of art and holds one of the most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art worldwide.
The Broad's third floor galleries show a rotating selection of artwork and, best of all, it is free! The first floor galleries are for special exhibitions, like the Jasper Johns exhibit "Something Resembling Truth" that runs through May 13, 2018.
So let's talk about the beautifully designed building... It's often called "The Veil and the Vault" because the building has gallery space as well as an extensive storage facility. In contrast with the neighboring Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad was designed to be porous and absorptive. There are wonderful olive trees that were planted in the plaza next to the museum.
There were a number of artworks by Jeff Koons at The Broad. "Balloon Dog (Blue)" is perhaps one of his series of works that is most famous. The artwork is made of stainless steel and wights 2,000 pounds. It was created as part of his Celebration Series, a group of paintings and sculptures that memorialize rituals, icons, and images related to birthdays, holidays, and other celebratory parties or occasions.
Roy Lichtenstein is one of my all-time favorite pop artists. He was one of the founders of Pop Art in the 1960s and used tiny dots in his artwork, similar to the printing style of comic-books. The dots were placed in such a way to create an image, imitating the way comic-books and newspapers were printed.
In addition to borrowing or seeking inspiration from newspaper ads, commercials, and comic books, Roy Lichtenstein also was inspired by some of his favorite artists like Picasso and Mondrian. See the two images below.
Here is a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein, "Goldfish Bowl" created in 1977. It is painted and patinated bronze. On the right is a detailed view, showing that the sculpture is very two-dimensional, despite it looking 3-D.
I always love seeing paintings by Chuck Close. Chuck Close is known for his detailed paintings of faces, and later he was known for the deconstruction of that detailed portraiture. He explores portraiture and created this photo-realist painting called "John", painted in 1971-72. I included a detailed shot showing the incredible painting technique.
John Baldessari, "Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell" 1966-68, Acrylic on Canvas. John Baldessari never touched this painting, didn't paint it, didn't write the text. Here, it's the role of the artist as the facilitator of the artwork; creating the concept. The humor is that the view is shown the paintings message, but the message is text taken from an art magazine with tips on what art should be.
Another one of my all-time favorite artists is Andy Warhol. A short time after Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, Andy Warhol started to create silkscreen images of Marilyn. I learned that Warhol had recently just learned how to silkscreen, so this was a somewhat new process for him! In the painting above, titled, "Two Marilyns" created in 1962, Warhol captures the terrible fact of Marilyn's death, as if he was reporting the news. With silkscreens, the images deteriorate with each printing, which I believe is symbolic of her presence and then her fading into history with her death. It can also be interpreted as the volatility of fame and celebrity. I'm not sure how many versions of "Two Marilyns" were created, but I learned that the one pictured above from The Broad Museum was the 27th version of the silkscreen created.
Ellsworth Kelly worked with shapes and solid colors. The painting below, "Green Blue Red" created in 1963, uses colors and shapes to create contrast and bring attention to edges. In the above image on the left, the green rectangle and blue oval are vibrantly displayed against the red background. His composition almost goes against the principal of design of balance. Below, Kelly's oil on canvas painting, "Green Relief with Blue" was completed in 2011. It's actually two conjoined canvases and I've posted the photo of the same painting as seen from different angles. It almost acts like a 2 dimensional painting trying to be a sculpture, with different views from different angles.
Jasper Johns: "Something Resembling Truth"
A Special Exhibition at The Broad (Through May 13, 2018)
While The Broad Museum's main collection has free admission, this special exhibition required a special ticket with a timed entry. The exhibit was one of the best I've ever seen. The exhibit covered over 6 decades of artistic achievement from this iconic American artist. The comprehensive exhibit features more than 120 extraordinary paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, by Jasper Johns and draws upon works from within The Broad's permanent collection as well as from loans from over 50 international public and private sources.
The imagery he used in his artwork were common items such as American flags, numbers, letters, targets, and light bulbs. Perhaps Johns’ most famous painting, "Flag (1954–55)" and is a fairly accurate representation of the American flag, in encaustic on collaged paper and fabric.
The American Flad is a geometric composition that has a strong sentimental and patriotic value in society. Jasper Johns' flags ofent trick the eye, or blur the lines between perception, reality, and illusion.
Jasper Johns began to incorporate objects and tools used in his artwork directly into the artwork's creation. Things like paintbrushes, color charts, and rulers. In the painting below, the "R" of "Red" is a neon light and wooden letters protrude outward from the canvas.
I highly recommend you to experience the Jasper John Exhibit if you can!
Also on the first floor was a very unique art installation by artist, Yayoi Kusama, titled "Infinity Mirrored Room--The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away." It is a mirror-lined room that includes LED lights that reflect endlessly in the mirrored space. It doesn't sound like much, but it is quite amazing to see. You need a separate timed ticket, which is free, and only one person can enter the room at a time for a duration of 45 seconds.
As you can see, the Broad Museum is quite an amazing experience. I highly recommend you visit The Broad in Los Angeles and experience the art scene in Downtown LA. For more information about The Broad, please visit their website: www.thebroad.org
Vinvent Van Gogh's "Irises" is one of The Getty's highlights. Van Gogh painted Irises in 1889 in the garden of the Saint-Remy asylum where he was being treated for his mental illness. It is oil on canvas. I learned that Van Gogh never really thought of this painting as a finished painting, but rather more of a study. It's a great example of his work that demonstrates how he painted en plein air. I'm fascinated with his brush techniques and how he layers color upon color upon color. I've included a detailed image of "Irises."
I really loved the special exhibit at The Getty Center called, "Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography." This exhibit that runs through May 27, 2018 features the work of contemporary photographers who use paper in unique and innovative ways. Some of the artists created paper models with images from current events with the intention of photographing them to create their final piece of artwork. While some artists make folds, cuts, or layers to arrange photographs to create something entirely new and innovative.
The photo below is the artwork of artist, Soo Kim. To create her artwork, she cuts and layers imagery to create areas of negative space that gives her images a 3-D look. The shadows cast onto the wall are fascinating. I included two detailed shots showing some of the imagery seen in this cut photograph. the other detailed photo shows the beautiful shapes created by the shadows.
The grounds of The Getty are home to wonderful sculptures; there's something wonderful around every corner. Unlike most paintings, sculptures are typically created to be displayed outdoors. Outside, a three dimensional sculpture can be viewed from every angle, a variety of distances, and therefore creating an experience or a special moment for the viewer. The sculpture gardens include artwork from artists such as Joan Miro, Rene Magritte, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, and other artists.
Another amazing exhibit was the "Michelangelo to Degas" exhibit that featured new aquisitions that broke records in the art world. The Getty Museum purchased 16 major drawings and one painting from a private collector that includes works by Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Goya, Domenico Tiepolo, and Edgar Degas. Below are three of my favorite pieces from this small but powerful exhibit. From left to right: Edgar Degas' "After The Bath (Woman Drying Herself)" about 1886; Michelangelo's "Study of a Mourning Woman" about 1500-1505; and Edgar Degas' "Two Studies of Dancers" about 1873.
I encourage you to go visit The Getty when in Los Angeles--You won't be disappointed! I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful tours and events that the Getty Center offers such as architectural tours, garden tours, exhibition tours, etc. Also, for families with children, there are Art Detective Cards where kids can find the artworks and solve mysteries while exploring the galleries. For visitors information, please visit: www.getty.edu.
I had the pleasure to go on a Studio Tour at Warner Brothers. There are so many forms of art that go into making movies and television shows; concept art, fashion design, set design, traditional and computer generated animation, etc. It was fascinating to see so many of these art forms come to life in the exhibits on the studio tour.
I'll focus this blog on the Concept Art that I saw for the Harry Potter movie franchise. Every element of the films were carefully designed and illustrated through creative and inspiring concept art. The production designer for the films and the art department created hundreds (perhaps thousands) of sketches and full-color renderings that helped to inform the look of the films as well as the fabrication of the props, sets, creatures, characters, and costumes. From the concept art, decisions were made to refine and select and approve final versions.
Creating the magical creatures that filled the world of Harry Potter wasn't an easy task and involved a massive team of artists and special effects experts. From the concept art, the Creature Effects team developed 3-D creatures from small maquettes to full-sized animatronic beasts. Some of these sculptures were created so that they can be scanned into a computer and modified digitally in post-production.
Warner Brothers Animation is one of the most famous animation studios. I learned that Warner Brothers has won 6 Oscars, 35 Emmys, and 20 Annie Awards (excellence in animation). I remember Warner Brothers for its cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yogi Bear, and Tom & Jerry. Even more notably, Warner Brothers is the home of DC Comics Superhero franchises such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.
In addition to concept art, Storyboards transform the written words of the script into visual images depicting action in a series of illustrative panels. Storyboards help indicate camera movement, close-up shots, long shots, or other specialty shots. The storyboards help the director and crew design the finished sequence as well as plan the logistics of the shoot itself. The art department is in charge of designing everything photographed in a movie before it is shot. Other visual tools in addition to Storyboards and conept art innclude digital renderings, and models.
Here's a photo of me at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in front of Chris Burden's sculpture, "Urban Light" installed in 2008. Burden restored over 200 cast-iron streetlamps to create this work of art. Burden was fascinated with urban life and how streetlamps are one of the fundamental building blocks of an urban metropolis. I found it interesting that the streetlamps were recently converted to LEDs, reducing the installations's annual energy consumption by 90%. The conversion to LEDs was funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation this year. Chris Burden was commissioned by Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum to create a similarly themed sculpture. You can see it by CLICKING HERE in an older blog article about the Rose Art Museum.
Chis Burden's "Metropolis II" depicts an urban landscape. Burden created "Metropolis I" seven years before "Metropolis II". The earlier work featured eighty Hot Wheels cars zooming around a model city. This work is much larger and includes 1,100 custom designed cars, 18 highways, and a vast array of buildings and structures. The artwork runs on select days and times, so plan ahead!
Richard Serra's "Band" is a massive sculpture that fills a huge exhibition hall from top to bottom, from front to back. The sculpture took two and a half years to develop. Made from over 200 tons of steel, it measures 12 feet high and over 70 feet in length.
Below are two views of the same sculpture, titled "Phoenix" by Alexander Liberman, created in 1974-75. I love how a different view of this sculpture creates an entirely new image, a new feeling, a new perspective.
"Levitated Mass" (Shown below) was conceived by artist, Michael Heizer, in 1969, but only realized in 2012. "Levitated Mass" is a 456-foot-long concrete pathway, over which sits a 340-ton granite boulder. As you walk down the pathway, it descends to fifteen feet in depth, directly underneath the massive boulder before ascending back up.
Below are two views of the same Alexander Calder sculpture created in 1964 titled, "Three Quintains (Hello Girls)." It is made from sheet metal and paint with motor. To me, it appeared to be moved by the wind, but apparently it has a motor that moves the mobile sculpture.
I love this painting below by Vincent Van Gogh, not because I love the imagery, but because it really doesn't look like a typical painting by Vincent Van Gogh! This painting, "Garden of the Rectory at Nuenen" was painted in 1885 in the Netherlands. The browns and grays are vastly different from the vivid, bright colors we are used to seeing in his later paintings when he lived in the south of France.
Below is one of Van Gogh's more typical painting style with all the beautiful colors and brushwork. The painting, "Hospital at Saint-Remy" is oil on canvas and was painted in 1889. It depicts the scenery at the institution in the south of France where Van Gogh was being treated for severe mental illness.
The Hammer Museum also has other galleries dedicated to contemporary artists. There was a really cool exhibit by the artist, Molly Lowe and another exhibit by the artist, Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Abu Hamdan uses a series of overhead projectors that cast images that have been created with a visualization tool that architects use to map the leakages of sound throughout a structure. The visuals are accompanied by audio that helps transform the research on a Syrian torture prison. I enjoyed looking at the exhibit from a visual perspective, but after reading about the artwork's meaning, it really makes me question my thoughts on conceptual art. Below is a photo of the small room that housed the projectors.
Perhaps the most bizarre (in a good way) exhibit was called "Stories of Almost Everyone" featured in the large exhibit hall . It's a group exhibition of 40 artists that is about society's willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art. It really hones in on conceptual art and how we look at material objects. Below is a photo of the exhibit hall showing some of the artworks. I'm including a YouTube video that was created by the Hammer Museum with Will Ferrell and Joel McHale, which is very funny and addresses the issues related to conceptual art head-on. Art can be confusing and the fact that the Hammer Museum pokes fun at this, I think, is really bold. "Stories of Almost Everyone" runs through May 6, 2018. For more information about The Hammer Museum, check out their website: https://hammer.ucla.edu/.
I love it when Art is just there; you didn't plan to "see art" or visit a gallery or a museum. You just stumble upon it randomly. This is exactly what happened on my most recent visit to Los Angeles. I checked into my hotel, located on the famous Sunset Blvd. In the lobby, and in the driveway are two pieces of public art on display. They are large fiberglass guitars designed and painted by artists that are peppered all along Sunset Blvd. The public art exhibit is called "Guitar Town" and features more than 25 ten foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars. The artworks are placed all along the legendary Sunset Strip and are auctioned off for the benefit of charitable organizations. Here are just a few of the ones I saw on Sunset.
Not too far from the Sunset Strip, just over the Hollywood Hills is Universal City Walk, located adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood. It was here that I took a photo of this even larger guitar that flanks The Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios. I took a similar photo from just about the same angle here, only at the time the guitar was colored differently. The giant guitar in front of the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal City Walk was updated to become a replica of Eddie Van Halen's "Frankenstrat" Guitar. Here is my painting based on this photo/perspective as I saw it prior to the update.
The Art Connection
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