Posts Tagged ‘gift shop’
NOTICE: This is the last week to see Paris: Life and Luxury, at the Getty Center. I’ve seen it twice, and am going back a third time this weekend. There is a lot to see; there is also a lot to read, lots of walltext, and a lot of it is hilarious. Beginning with the intro walltext, which explains why most people are unfamiliar with French decorative art from this period:
Largely unfamiliar and underappreciated today, over shadowed as they are by the tumultuous social and political events of the French revolution of 1789.
Oh my god, this stuff is so underappreciated! Who doesn’t love Rococo? If an 18th century French peasant saw all the wealth/golden filth in this exhibition, the Revolution would have happened a WHOLE lot sooner. Read the rest of this entry »
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
While in Houston, I scampered around town looking at as much art as I could with my favorite museum pal Margarete. This included going to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I always enjoy seeing how encyclopedic museums display their collections, Pre-Columbian collections in particular. Coming from LA, I’m now accustomed to LACMA’s Jorge-Pardo-designed galleries. The Pre-Columbian galleries at the MFAH are fairly standard, but contain hoards of gold. This is because the Spanish conquistador, Alfredo Glassello bequeathed his Aztec and Incan booty to the MFAH. Not really, but an oil man and MFAH trustee, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., did. “As a life-long collector of Asian, Pre-Columbian, and African art, he donated his excellent and extensive collections to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. These works, primarily of precious gold, are without parallel.” This would explain the gold rooms, one of Pre-Columbian artifacts, and on the other side of the building, a hall of golden African objects. Read the rest of this entry »
MOCA – Pacific Design Center
It is widely disputed how many seasons Los Angeles has, but it actually has five: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Awards season. Awards season affects many aspects of life in LA, from street closures and parties to other cultural organizations like museums. LACMA has a small unabashed installation of Larry Fink Oscar party photographs to commemorate the season. The FIDM Museum and Galleries has its annual exhibition of Art of Motion Picture Costume Design, which features costume design from 2010 films. But another show across town may be stealing some of FIDM’s thunder. On view until June 6th, Rodarte: States of Matter at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center outlet features work from Rodarte’s Fall 2008, Spring 2010, and Fall 2010 collections—as well as costumes from 2010’s humungous ballet film Black Swan.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
To my readers: No more posts on LA exhibitions for a while (other than this one and the one to follow); I am now curled up next to a space heater in Chicago, while the rest of you complain about the amazingly hot weather in LA, boohoo.
Admittedly I coerced my best friend to come with me to see these shows (Opie next time) by selling them to him as the “gay shows at LACMA.” They’re not really “gay” shows, but both have material that might be characterized as homoerotic, and maybe that’s why LACMA curators felt they needed to include the following at the entrance of the Manly Pursuits:
Warning Adult Material. (No joke.)
This begs to question—where!? I don’t see any adult material, unless you mean those paintings and photographs that have naked nude male figures in them. Is this warning necessary? Is it there because they’re naked guys? I don’t see labels warning about the naked women elsewhere in the museum. Where’s the warning sign in the renaissance galleries for that painting of that slut Danae and the golden shower?
Moving on from that unnecessary warning, the always clever exhibition designers at LACMA have come up with inventive signage. In the entryway a large title banner is hung from a complex rigging of ropes and pulleys. The didactics in the exhibition are printed on thick canvas (this sailboat not the canvas you paint on), and hung from punctured grommet holes. Very wood shop and very manly I supposed.
The exhibition is organized into genres of sport: rowing, swimming, hunting and sailing, equestrian, boxing and cycling, and wrestling. This method is both user-friendly and functionally allowed for smaller and larger spaces. This is not a full-scale retrospective, but a focused exhibition on one genre of Eakins’s work; this does not mean this is a small show or that it is lacking in works.
The first room, on rowing, had a plentitude of works: completed paintings, preparatory works, and sketches. Eakins fascination (even obsession) with accurate perspective is evident in these works and the combination of works showcased the artist’s anal-retentive process.
The swimming room is the room that I guess warranted the warning label (maybe also the wrestling room). There is only one completed oil painting in the room, The Swimming Hole (1884-85), the only Eakins work on the subject matter. The canvas wall text informs that Eakins relied on photographs for this composition; this is obvious since the painting is accompanied in this room by so many photographs. The photos are of “real” (LACMA’s word choice not mine) naked men, instead of idealized nudes (is that why we need the label?). All of the photos are preciously small and require close proximity to view them properly. The photographs come from various places (oh hey a loan from the Getty!) and are labeled as modern inkjets from original glass negatives. I call them soft-core-porn (kidding, kinda).
The main attraction, on loan from the Amon Carter Museum, has chairs placed in front of it (chairs I’m pretty sure came from a conference room inside LACMA). The wall text also explains that Eakins himself is one of the men in the painting, making this a clusterfuck of viewer-viewed-exhibitionist-voyeur-spectator-participant relationships. I would like to point out that the finished oil painting has no visible penis in it, so what is the big deal?
I blew through the hunting and sailing room, and the equestrian room, in pursuit of more adult content slash gay porn (still kidding LACMA), which I found in the boxing and cycling room. This room had more naked photographic studies to satiate my desires (haha) and several large finished works in it including Saltut from the Addison Gallery of American Art (which has been linked to Gerome’s Police Verso which was just in LA), Between Rounds from Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the largest work, Taking the Count from Yale. Pat on the back for being responsible and looking at where all these loans came from. This room was set with a series of benches arranged as they might be for a spectator sport like boxing (oh yeah that’s the topic of this room).
On to the wrestling room: This room is organized around LACMA’s The Wrestlers, it is a new acquisition and the central reason why LACMA organized this show. More chairs from a LACMA conference room were set in this gallery to allow for longer views (also so viewers could get their rocks off) of the works, which include preparatory paintings (one owned by LACMA prior to the acquisition), and more steamy photographs. Damn LACMA I’m all hot and bothered now, all this adult content.
And after I’d already jizzed my pants LACMA really delivered with Tad Beck’s installation Palimpsest. In a separate room, several works from Beck’s Palimpsest series were displayed, acting in dialogue with Eakins’s work. The subject matter of the male nude (the adult content remember) is not the only similarity Beck explains in an Unframed post.
The last room of the exhibition is a reading room. A really sad little reading room, which had a book on Eakins’s Grafly Album (sexy stuff), some terribly cheap Xeroxed essays, but oh wait, two iPads to read the pseudo-exhibition catalogue on. This is a big show (in scale and importance), with lots of loans—I can’t believe there isn’t an accompanying exhibition catalogue (is one is in the works?), maybe the organizers didn’t have any funds left for publications. But they had funds for those iPads…
The unfortunate gift shop and Catherine Opie: Figure and Landscape will have to wait for next time. But believe me the gift shop was UNFORTUNATE and less noteworthy the Opie show did have figures and landscapes (and more gay stuff).
I know that this exhibition is already over, but I still think it is worth posting about because it had so many elements involved with the exhibition design.
The exhibition was located on the terrace level of the west pavilion of the Getty Center. I entered the space by walking down the stairway from the level above, which allowed me a great view of the behemoth horse by Nina Akamu. The work was a wall mural of a photo of Il Cavallo, which stands in the Parco dell’Ippodromo in Milan. The contemporary sculpture was inspired by the sketches of Da Vinci, for an unrealized equestrian monument designed for Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan. This unrealized sculpture was a big focus of the show, and this photo adhered to the entry wall helped to cultivate the theme of monumentality in Renaissance sculpture. Even though there were few sculptures (and none by Da Vinci) in the show. The Da Vinci work in this show is made up of sketches, many from the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II.
There were some very significant loan pieces, which is what the Getty does best; the reason to go see a show at the Getty is their ability to negotiate such loans. (See for example French Bronzes, Bernini, or the display of Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.) A major lender in to this exhibition was the Museo Del Opera Del Duomo in Florence. The very Tuscan, sand-colored rooms of the exhibition are divided into several themes.
Donatello and Da Vinci: This room was a kind of prologue to the show. One big room, with only one big work: Donatello’s Bearded Prophet. The huge bronze statue was illuminated by a single window in an upper corner of room. The starkness of the room highlighted the monumental borrowed work and allowed a visitor to circumvent the entire work, which you wouldn’t have been able to in its original setting—on the campanile of the Duomo. The wall text explains how Donatello enlarged certain parts of the sculpture because of the perspective of it being seen on high: like the hands and the saint’s head. This was a technique that was evidently adopted by Da Vinci.
Da Vinci and the Florentine Tradition: Because this show prominently featured works on loan I was not allowed to take any photographs, and the Getty has a very diligent and dedicated army of gallery guards who promptly tell you to put that camera away, this is why I have no images from this room. Let me describe it instead: the second room had an assemblage of pedestals with framed sketches set on top of them. The Da Vinci sketches looked precariously set on top of the pedestals, as if they would topple over if you bumped into one, which seemed unavoidable in the crowded forest of pedestals. Wall text contextualized Da Vinci into the Florentine tradition, with its emphasis on disegno—the “masculine style” which the Tuscans thought far superior to the feminine, Venetian style of colorito.
In between the room that focused on Da Vinci’s equestrian monuments and other projects, and the next was a corridor that could have been left empty and unremarkable. But no, the Getty exhibition designers weren’t going to waste a perfectly good wall. In this wall way, like beautiful antique wallpaper, was enlarged images of Da Vinci’s handwriting. I asked a gallery guard permission and was given the okay to photograph.
In the next room, which was almost tucked away, Da Vinci’s St. Jerome (on loan from the Vatican!) was displayed. The unfinished panel painting was the first work by Da Vinci in the show that wasn’t a sketch, not a sculpture, but still not a sketch. What this painting was doing in a show about sculpture was rationalized by the curators in that the figure of Jerome was painted in a very sculptural way…I might be oversimplifying, but that’s all the average visitor is going to understand anyway.
The final rooms were devoted to Giovan Francesco Rustici, an artist I had never heard of before this exhibition. Apparently he was friends and colleagues with Da Vinci. Because there are very few confidently attributed Da Vinci sculptures, and those probably are never allowed to move, the Getty provides this analogue (aka replacement) for the lack of Da Vinci sculptures. Once again there were a lot of loan works, the most glorious of which were the three Rustici sculptures that made up the sculptural group John the Baptist Preaching to a Pharisee and a Levite, also from the Museo Del Opera Del Duomo.
Again the large works (meant to be seen on the exterior of a public building) were given plenty of room to stretch their large bronze limbs, and basked in plenty of natural sunlight. The natural light helped to contextualize the works in their original location. The works were amazing, and would be on their own, even if you ignore the Da vinci-Rustici relationship so hyped in this exhibition. It really undermined Rustici’s talent as an individual artist, but at the same time exposed me to Rustici for the first time.
After exiting the exhibition, myself and all the visitors were forced into the adjacent retail space. Yes the Getty has a very large bookstore, but they also set up specialty boutique shops as it were for special exhibitions. It was like strategic planning in a mall, but I did almost buy a street banner from the exhibition.