Sunday, February 17, 2008

More thoughts about BCAM

We hired a babysitter so we could go to the reception on Friday night. We dithered about taking Iris, but ultimately decided against it. I had heard that there would be a healthy dose of Jeff Koons and some of his stuff is not appropriate for Iris' developmental age. Or rather, I didn't want to answer some questions that might arise. (Little did I know that some of Cindy Sherman's work might elicit questions that I also don't want to answer.)

When we worked our way down to the bottom floor where the Richard Serra works reside, I sorta did wish we brought Iris. You should have seen the joy on this kid's face as he raced round and round the Torqued Ellipses. Even with the crowds, it was incredibly moving to walk between the massive steel walls. I liked the newer work, "Band", quite a bit. Mark felt quite meh about it. But you have to look up close at the surface of Band. Serra refined his rust technique so that the sculpture resembled a monochrome abstract expressionist painting that just went on and on. The surface of Torqued Ellipses was never as interesting.

Mark and I saw Torqued Ellipses (I don't know which version; there are several) eons ago at the Temporary Contemporary, now the Geffen Contemporary. The TC/GC has a platform from which you can view the rest of the cavernous gallery. It was a wonderful way to view the Torqued Ellipses because you could experience it from ground level, and then step back to take the whole thing in.

At BCAM, the first floor gallery seemed only slightly higher than the monumental sculptures. Additionally, they were on either side of the central hall (and glass elevator) so that one cannot step back and view the sculptures in their entirety. It is a lost opportunity.

Aside:
Remember how Iris caught me completely unprepared for the birds and the bees discussion in MPAA Rating and Parental Complacency? How do you explain the coupling of Jeff Koons and Cicciolina? Or Cindy Sherman's rubber ahem? On second thought, the sitter was a good idea.
For the record, I thought Cindy Sherman was making a valid point and I would call that art.

Links:
Richard Serra's Outsized Vision
Tyler Green over at Modern Art Notes has been following Eli Broad's ego for some time. Read his recap and analysis of the brouhaha.
He pointed out this unintentionally hilarious interview with Broad.
The NY Times is similarly puzzled about the non-gift.
I wish they had built the Rem Koolhaas design below (picture from the NYT).

The new Renzo Piano design does a poor job of linking to the street. They took out the street light in front of the new entrance! You have to walk one block away, to the old entrance, to cross Wilshire. But, you won't be able to enter there because they closed that gate. You have to walk all the way back to the new entrance. Crazy urban design, no?

Christopher Hawthorne takes LACMA to task:
Last April, the Los Angeles Planning Commission endorsed a list of 14 aggressive principles to help make the city more livable. The first sentence of the plan was blunt: "Demand a walkable city."

But demanding and creating are two very different things. Too often in Los Angeles, city officials still give cars and the free flow of traffic almost automatic planning priority over pedestrians.

A recent case in point involves a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art...

The short version goes like this: The DOT refused to approve the new lane unless the museum also was willing to remove the stoplight and crosswalks at the intersection and extend the median strip running down the center of Wilshire.

The sum effect of the changes to the intersection, carried out last fall, has been to seal the south side of the boulevard off from the north right where the LACMA campus has established its new center of gravity.
See the previous post, BCAM Opening.

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