Sunday, December 03, 2006

Family Day at the Getty Villa

Today was one of those absolutely gorgeous fall days in which Malibu looks like the Mediterranean. Look at that blue sky with nary a cloud or drop of fog! How very unusual, except under Santa Ana wind conditions. How very unusual to have Santa Ana winds in Malibu without a wildfire! There was a sinkhole that had closed down a portion of Pacific Coast Highway, but that is the price of paradise.

We scored 5 tickets and one parking pass for the Family Festival at the Getty Villa. We met up with another family on Pacific Coast Highway with the aid of cell phones and headed up to the villa's new parking garage.

Iris and B listened to Tunisian and Italian folk music and storytelling. Iris and I made two mosaics each. We also spent some time looking at Tunisian mosaics. Later, while strolling in the inner courtyard, I noticed the motifs on the Tunisian drums.

There is a sense of urgency about seeing the permanent collections at the Getty. You never know when they will be claimed by and repatriated to other nations. The mosaics were lent by Tunisia and the commentary tried to be sensitive to that issue. Taking the mosaics out of the elements preserves them, but also take them out of the context that they were meant to be seen and enjoyed.

For instance, fish spill out of a tipped basket. They should look like they have spillt across a floor. Instead, they look like they are swimming up a wall.

That reminds me of a comment by an art critic about when quilts made the big leap from the bed to the wall. I didn't understand that comment until today. I am young enough to have taken it for granted that some quilts belonged in museums and that they would, of course, hang vertically. (The hugely influential Whitney exhibit of Amish quilts in 1971 proved that.) I hadn't realized what a difference a change in perspective from horizontal to vertical can make.

We had a lovely afternoon. The evening was just as beautiful. This is the view leaving the villa just before sunset. Note the green sod roof on the new parking structure.

The sunset from the corner of PCH and Sunset Boulevard. Note the child's balloon that flew into the picture frame. A jet forms a contrail just to the right. You know that the air aloft is cold (because a contrail is visible) and dry (from how quickly the contrail dissipates).

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