Exhibition Inquisition

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

Posts Tagged ‘Unframed

The Curve Blog

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Museum of Contemporary Art

This is unrelated to an exhibition or installation, but still something related to this blog: museum blogs.  As previously mentioned on this blog, MOCA has a little-publicized blog call The Curve (unimaginative name, I know).  From the look of it, it seems it was designed as a platform to host podcasts and videos.  However, following in the footsteps of LACMA’s Unframed, and more recently the Getty’s The Iris, MOCA has actually been using its blog more like a blog.  Sometimes the post are informative, sometimes they are pure hipster frivolity and wastes of money.

Reblogging in the highest form of flattery...

The most recent post proposes a best caption contest (no prize for the winner is stipulated).  MOCA also manages to hook into the viral video “Double Rainbow” (I refuse to give you that link because you’ve already seen it). What a clever tactic for driving comments and reader participation.  Actually it’s an over-used tactic, almost the equivalent of ending a blog post with: “so what do you think?”–which is the lowest of low tactics. I would never ask you, my legions of devoted readers, what you think. I’m telling you what I think.

Back to topic: I decided to submit my own photocaption, yes I feel for the tactic, and as a way of being a responsible social media participant.  (See the comments section of the caption contest post.)  I was surprised that the comment didn’t automatically appear, and that it first needed to be moderated.  AKA It needed to be approved by MOCA first. My comment was clearly approved because I mentioned that MOCA managed to end their fiscal year with a $5.5 million surplus (congrats MOCA, now put that back into your endowment right now).  They love you when you help publicize the good stuff.

Reclaiming control over the orgy of social media is a very hot topic.  Should organizations let their social media platforms run wild, or should they attempt to moderate? (That’s a hypothetic question, no need to comment.) Let’s recall how LA Metro got into some shit after they deleted a comment from their facebook page.

At first I was going to be harsh on MOCA for moderating their comments, but then I did some investigative blogging, and left comments on both The Iris, and on Unframed. I realized that the Getty and LACMA moderate their comments too.  I guess I can’t be so harsh on MOCA (even if their blog sucks).  Maybe this will become an experiment. I wonder how filthy I can get before a museum tells me to stop.  LACMA hasn’t contacted me about that giftshop slash porn set comment, so I guess that’s progress.

-H.I.

P.S. Special consideration should be made in the case of Donald Frazell: as a rule everyone can and should delete his comments.

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Written by exhibitioninquisition

October 4, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Today only, except not.

This above sign is misleading…

Because I am an avid reader of LACMA’s Unframed blog, I knew that LACMA was having a two-day only viewing of it’s brand-spanking-new building the Resnick Pavilion.  Of course I made sure to get my self over to LACMA to see the building, I’ve been eager anticipating its completion since I attended the press conference announcing the museum’s Transformation Phase II.  The day of the press conference all that was at the site of the planned building was a huge slab of concrete with red painted words announcing the Resnick Pavilion.

Yes, of course it’s in the Baldessari-designed LACMA font.

Well it turns out that LACMA had such great attention with its first preview, it decided to do another one-day-only viewing about a month later.  I still feel special, but not as special.  I especially wanted to see the building since I won’t be in LA when it opens in the beginning of October.

LACMA's Westside

The soon-to-be-finished building is, like its neighbor BCAM, designed by Renzo Piano.  (The new building has affectionately been dubbed the Baby Piano).  The Renzos face each other, both faced (oh word choice) in travertine marble, and mirror each other with their mostly glass facades.  Both buildings also have signature accents of red.  The BCAM has “the spider” escalator in glaring fire-truck-engine red, and the new Resnick Pavilion has huge HVAC units painted the same optimistic color.

When will this red cease to be an accent color?

Surrounding the building is Robert Irwin’s Palm Garden, which has been an evolving project at LACMA. I am all for palm trees, and was sad when exploring Chicago earlier this summer to discover the palm does not flourish in climes where it tends to snow.  Interior:  The building may seem vapid, but that is because it was designed specifically for temporary exhibitions.  The pavilion serves as a huge art warehouse, an acre of space with which the curator may do what with it he or she pleases.  Think lots of temporary walls.

Reflections of BCAM

The whole front of the building (the side that faces BCAM of course) is nearly a whole wall of floor-to-ceiling glass.  The use of natural light dominates the space; the Resnick Pavilion has the same saw-toothed roof that BCAM has, which allows plenty of natural sunlight to flood the interior.

Term of the Day: "Sawtoothed"

The space is epically big.  And of course Michael Govan wasn’t going to let the public sneak a peak at an empty building.  A temporary installation of Walter de Maria’s The 2000 Sculpture, had been laid out with loving devotion inside the pavilion.  All 2000 polygonal plaster rods of it.

Like throwing a hotdog down a hallway.

The installation of de Maria’s work filled the entire central third of the building.  There are two rows of support columns, which divide the interior into three long sections…Along the otter thirds of the space, one could see (what I think is the only problem with the building) rows and rows of vents.

Equivalent to wire hangers.

The vents are violently distracting in the otherwise uninterrupted flow of the building.  Maybe the vents won’t be so distracting when exhibitions are installed.  Here’s me thinking wishfully.

Room with a view.

Light streams in through the north end of the building as well.  Another almost-entire glass wall looks out onto 6th avenue. It’s unclear where the planned land art piece, Levitated Mass, by Michael Heizer will be placed on the LACMA campus, but maybe it’s going to be somewhere out on that large patch of now, unremarkable dirt.

Coming soon to a pavilion near BCAM!

As mentioned before the leviathan of an interior is divided into three segments by the support columns.  And what a coincidence! LACMA is planning not one, not two, but three! inaugural exhibitions for the Resnick Pavilion (again all opening the beginning of October).  Words cannot describe how sad I am to be missing this opening. I’ve anxiously watched the progress of this building and hope to see the finished product when I visit LA in winter, hopefully before these shows close.

Never forget to thank your donors.

– H.I.

Interesting: when I visited the Resnick Pavilion on the preview day it seemed like a lot of people (most those of us slightly older of age) where having severe problems with the steps in front of the building.  LACMA had station guards (visible in picture on the left) to warn people about the shallow steps, which as you exited the building were actually invisible.  A more recent visit revealed that the life-threatening steps have been jackhammered away.  My guess is that someone (probably important and probably white-of-hair) almost tripped and died and may of have said something.  I actually have no evidence of this, so I’m not suggesting anything. Yay safety upgrades!

Taking care of a lawsuit-waiting-to-happen.

Related: Apparently there is a was being waged in LA betwixt LACMA and MOCA! See this um, interesting Vanity Fair article.  The online version doesn’t have the fab! photograph of Lynda and Stewart Resnick (yes the people that paid for this building) lounging in their Beverly Hills abode.  I’ll try and scan my copy, because this photo is priceless.

Art of the Pacific Galleries

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Flute ornament on a maté tea background.

Towards the end of last year LACMA installed a gallery for its newly acquired collection of oceanic art.  This is not your regular exhibition however; LACMA once again solicited the talents of an artist to help out with the exhibition design.  The Austrian artist Franz West was brought on to bring a create edge to the installation.  West had a solo exhibition at LACMA last year, which was interestingly enough installed in the same galleries that the Art of the Pacific now occupies.

Sun-lit galleries, almost like a tropical vacation.

The galleries are on the ground floor of the Ahmanson Building, right as you come in from the BP entry pavilion, you walk under Tony Smith’s Smoke, and make a right.  The galleries are sun-lit because of the large open windows that look out onto the recently opened Cantor Sculpture Garden.

The introductory wall text explains that the way this installation has been organized with “geographic groupings that follow population migration patterns, from west to eat, in the general sequence of the settlements of these Pacific islands.”  A wide range of material culture is displayed, similar items are grouped, and some are highlighted individually.

Primitive pedestals for “primitive” art?

The pedestals in the installation are intentionally crude; small forests of two-by-fours make up the bases that support white-washed wooden slabs.  If the intention was to be primitive, they are successful.

Would you sit here?

The walls of the galleries have been washed in maté tea, a process that was explained on LACMA’s Unframed blog.  The objects on display were set on platforms and pedestals, which were arranged along with bizarre benches.  The benches are unconventional, and verging on the ugly, but are fairly comfortable.  My major with them is that they are distracting; the bight green in them detracts from the art on display, and does little to relate to it.

User-unfriendly identification cards.

No wall labels are used in the installation, which is frustrating.  If you want to know what the object is that you are looking at you have to pick up a huge laminated poster with outlines of the works on display and try to figure it out on your own.  There was a different laminated poster for each room, and you look silly carrying the posters around.

This is this.

The West-created installation follows LACMA’s recent trend of involving artists in installations; Baldessari was brought in to design the 2006 Magritte exhibition, and more recently Jorge Pardo collaborated with the museum on the installation of the much-critiqued Pre-Columbian collection.  I have to say that I think the Pardo-designed galleries are more interesting, aesthetically pleasing, and plain prettier that what West designed for the Pacific galleries.  However this mode of curation is a way of enlivening the permanent collection, which is a vital task for collecting institutions.  LACMA is doing just that, making its visitors rethink the items it has on display.

– H.I.

P.S. Check in soon for developments at LACMA and the reinstallation of their European galleries.