Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

In the Service of Buddha

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

This is going to be a short post since I was almost immediately told I was not allowed to take pictures in the gallery where Tibetan furniture is on display at LACMA.  The works on display are from the Hayward Family Collection, and have been installed for a show entitled: In the Service of Buddha.  The show will be on view for a long while until spring 2011.  It takes up the room which was previously installed with objects from LACMA’s permanent collection of Tibetan artworks.  The blue walls were left (for more blue and Tibetan objects see my post on a Norton Simon exhibition).

Chest – an important type of Tibetan furniture

The information on the LACMA website states that the Hayward Family Collection is the “premier collection of Tibetan furniture in the United States,” and that it “includes masterpieces of virtually every type of Tibetan furniture.”  I’m no expert on Tibetan furniture, but it looked to me as if the exhibition only contained chests and cabinets…

Predictable calligraphic font

The title above the entryway for the exhibition seemed overly ornate, and I wasn’t too big a fan of the “asian-looking” font.

Photo is not my own, courtesy of Unframed blog


The presentation was well organized; objects were displayed on low platforms along all the walls with several platforms in the middle of the floor.  The room felt very domestic which was fitting for an exhibition of furniture.

On one wall above the objects soared a colorful cloth banner.  The banner ran the whole length of one wall and created an additional vision dimension.

No home is complete without a 20-foot-long banner

One thing in particular that I liked about this exhibition was the way the cabinets were installed.  Some cabinets were shown with their doors closed, but other were flung open revealing their interiors.  In some of the cabinets small precious objects from LACMA permanent collection.  These included small gilded Buddhists sculptures of deities and other ceremonial objects.  This also seemed like a way of uniting LACMA’s collection with the Hayward collection.  Which in fact they now are.

A little something from LACMA’s permanent collection

Recently, during this year’s annual Collectors Committee Weekend, the collection was acquired by the museum from the Haywards for a fraction of its appraised cost.  This then begs to question, I was in the galleries after the collection was acquired.  LACMA allows for photography of its permanent collection.  And yet I was told I was not allowed to photograph in this room.  Maybe this is just an instance of the gallery guards at LACMA not being informed about the artwork they are hired to protect, which seems disturbing.

- H.I.

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Written by exhibitioninquisition

June 13, 2010 at 11:59 PM

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