This Weekend at LACMA: Free Tim Burton Film, Middle East Film Series, Free Concerts, and More

August 5, 2011

Starting tonight and happening every Friday in August you can enjoy a family friendly Tim Burton film outside in Hancock Park, for the nice price of free—bring a picnic and enjoy Corpse Bride tonight! The movie starts at 8 pm, so make an evening of it by coming early to check out the Jacques Voyemant Septet in a free Jazz at LACMA performance, stop into the galleries—free after 5 pm (except for Tim Burton) for LA County residents—or grab dinner or drinks at Ray’s and Stark Bar.

Inside the Bing, our newest film series, in conjunction with Gifts of the Sultan, is “Once Upon a Time in the Middle East.” It kicks off tonight with Sergei Parajanov’s hallucinatory The Color of Pomegranates, followed by Ali Khamraev’s Man Follows Birds. Tomorrow night series continues with the thriller Topkapi, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Peter Ustinov, and Arabian Nights.  

That’s not all in the way of film at LACMA this weekend. We’ve also got our Saturday Monster Matinee—Jason & the Argonauts—which is just $5 (or free if you’re a LACMA member).

On Saturday evening in Hancock Park, Orquesta Charangoa performs for free as part of our summer Latin Sounds concert series.

August finds a new theme for our weekly free Andell Family Sundays—Crazy about Color. Bring your kids and find inspiration in the permanent collection, then make art together in our free artist-led workshops.

Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1951-55, gift of Mrs. Anni Albers and the Josef Albers Foundation, Inc., © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Our weekly Sundays Live concert series will feature the trio of Judith Farmer (bassoon), Boglarka Kiss (flute), and Robert Thies (piano) performing works by Poulenc, Tansman, and Schumann.  

Those are just the special programs we have planned for the weekend. Of course, we’ve also got a half dozen buildings filled with art. There are any number of exhibitions to choose from—including The Sound of One Hand, which closes later this month—as well as smaller permanent collection rotations. Here’s a tip: head up to the fourth floor of the Ahmanson Building for two fantastic exhibitions of South and Southeast Asian art: The Way of the Elders, which looks at images of the Buddha in Theravada traditions, and The Changing Face of Nepal, which examines the development of portraiture in Nepal over the centuries.

King Girvan Yuddhavikram Shah (1797-1816), Nepal, c. 1815, Indian Art Special Purpose Fund

Scott Tennent


VIDEO: Preparing for Levitated Mass

August 3, 2011

Recently, amid tractors and cranes, on the edge of a deep trench being dug just north of the Resnick Pavilion, we spoke with John Bowsher, who is overseeing the installation of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass.

The sculpture will be complete this fall, after a 340-ton boulder is maneuvered into place above an open slot more than 450 feet long. Visitors will be able to pass beneath the boulder and experience it hovering above them.

In the video below, John talks about the physical dynamics of the construction and the process of working with a living artist on a truly massive project.

Amy Heibel, with Alexa Oona Schulz


New Acquisition: Elizabeth Catlett, Sharecropper

August 3, 2011

Last month the newly formed American Art Acquisitions Group voted to acquire Elizabeth Catlett’s Sharecropper, a graphic masterpiece. A sophisticated and virtuosic pattern of cuts into the linoleum block create the striking energy and clarity of this print.

Elizabeth Catlett, Sharecropper, 1952, gift of the 2011 American Art Acquisitions Group

Catlett, who is the granddaughter of slaves and just celebrated her 96th birthday in April, was first introduced to the linoleum cut, or linocut, in 1946, when she apprenticed at El Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City (The People’s Graphic Workshop). The artists’ collective (Catlett was a member from 1946 to 1966) influenced her commitment to create art that would promote social change and be accessible to broad audiences. Prints, in particular linocuts, were the workshop’s specialty and became Catlett’s preferred medium: they were inexpensive, easy to incise, and conducive to publishing large editions. The linocut is also aesthetically appealing for its smooth, uniform, and clean surface qualities.

Sharecropper, first created in 1952, is one of Catlett’s most iconic works, and the version just acquired for LACMA is the artist’s proof—the first impression pulled by the artist. The vivid contrasts of the black and white markings creating the sharecropper’s weathered skin, textured white hair, and broad brimmed straw hat framing her face are direct and vigorous—and contrast with fatigue evident in the eyes and the large safety pin neatly holding her lightweight jacket closed. These details allude to hardships of the life of a sharecropper. Sharecropping was an agricultural system that emerged in the U.S. immediately following the Civil War. Laborers worked plantation lands, usually cotton fields, in exchange for a portion of the crops, but typically the proceeds from the crops were allocated to the landowners in advance for expenses, such as housing on the plantation, now required of the farmers. For formerly enslaved African Americans, this exploitative system created extensive and ongoing disenfranchisement.

Catlett’s image does not shy from this history, nor have other artists throughout the history of American art since Reconstruction. In fact, Sharecropper demonstrates the persistence of this theme, namely picking cotton, in American art for both African American and Caucasian artists, including, from LACMA’s collection, Winslow Homer (The Cotton Pickers, 1876), Thomas Hart Benton (Cotton Pickers, 1931), and John Biggers (Cotton Pickers, 1947). However, Catlett’s Sharecropper is now the American art collection’s most modern image of American sharecroppers, and one of the artist’s innovations was to remove any visual reference to the cotton field or bags. As a result the image appears more universal and heroic, a portrait of the everywoman sharecropper to whom we look up but who does not meet our gaze. Sharecropper in on view now in our American art galleries.

Austen Bailly


More Burton-Inspired Pics from the Public

August 1, 2011

Attendance to our Tim Burton exhibition is going strong two months into its five month run. One of the best things about the exhibition is how our visitors continue to interact with it online. We invited visitors to post their own Burton-esque images to our flickr group to see things that seem to have taken inspiration from Burton’s aesthetic. We love to see this multimedia feed grow with an assortment of beautiful, mysterious, playful, gothic, colorful, and dark images.

Steel branches from alexcap1101

Steel branches

Check out the Flickr group here.

sonicshadowlover13 submitted this image of her Jack Skellington-inspired outfit, complete with skeleton gloves and choker.

shaunsaumell submitted several images of a beautiful, surreal landscape that look right out of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

tagletwitch created an amazing sculpture  from what looks like recycled wires.

Some contributors have drawn their own dark, Burton-esque creatures like taylorwchristensen’s Stick Boy and Match Girl and mouse25’s My Pretty.

Scroll through all of the submissions for more sketches, costumes, house decor, hairstyles, tattoos, and some inspiration from nature.

Submit your Burton-esque images here.

Alex Capriotti


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