Monet/Lichtenstein: Cathedrals Remembered, Reimagined

October 4, 2011

One of the world’s most celebrated and recognized artists, Claude Monet created a body of breathtakingly beautiful and conceptually sophisticated work that has been full heartedly embraced all over the world.  I never imagined I would have the opportunity to install a Monet, let alone five of Monet’s Rouen Cathedrals, for the exhibition Monet/Lichtenstein: Rouen Cathedrals. Working on this project allowed me to reflect on the memories I had of Monet’s Rouen Cathedrals and how much these experiences shaped my understanding of modernism.  I can still picture the moment when I entered the gallery at the Musée d’Orsay where several of Monet’s cathedrals hung side by side along one wall; their ability to be both unique and serial at the same time was totally mind blowing.  Afterward, I traveled to Rouen—an hour’s train ride from Paris—where I saw firsthand the cathedral that inspired this series of paintings.

Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral, the portal. Morning Sun, Blue Harmony, 1893, Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France (Inv. RF2000). Photo courtesy of Réunion des Musées Nationaux by Thierry Le Mage/Art Resource, NY.

Due to my experience at the Musée d’Orsay, installing these works was an incredibly surreal experience, made only more so because this exhibition also reveals the distinctive role the Southern California art scene has played in modernism.  In 1968, John Coplans, former director of the Pasadena Museum of Art (now the Norton Simon Museum of Art) and a vocal advocate for Los Angeles art, organized the landmark exhibition Serial Imagery.  During a meeting with Coplans to discuss the planning of the exhibition, young pop artist Roy Lichtenstein saw photographs of Monet’s cathedrals, inspiring him to use those images for his own series of paintings and prints (the largest set of these paintings, owned by the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, is on view in the exhibition).

Roy Lichtenstein, Rouen Cathedral (Seen at Five Different Times of Day), Set III, 1968–69. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Photo courtesy of the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection by Douglas M. Parker Studio.

With Pacific Standard Time opening this past weekend, I find this connection particularly poignant and timely.  Bringing together these chronologically disparate artists reminds us of the importance of exhibitions in shaping contemporary art production and the strong connection between works of art and their preceding movements, which is one of the most important functions of an encyclopedic museum such as LACMA.

Lauren Bergman, Curatorial Assistant, Modern Art

Happy Birthday, Resnick Pavilion

October 3, 2011

This week, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Resnick Pavilion. This massive addition—it added 45,000 square feet of gallery space—has allowed us to showcase exhibitions that highlight LACMA’s encyclopedic nature, from ancient Olmec sculpture to macabre Tim Burton sketches to midcentury furniture and design, all in one building. The diversity of exhibitions has attracted numerous visitors in the year the pavilion has been open.

How numerous, you ask? Here is the Resnick Pavilion’s first year, by the numbers:

  • # of hours open: 2,652
  • # of exhibitions hosted: 8
  • # of artworks exhibited: 2,196
  • # of years spanned in art exhibited: over 2,800
  • # of guests that attended the exhibitions: 590,805
  • # of guests that attended docent-led tours: 6,327
  • # of students that attended as part of a school group: 6,233
  • # of buses provided to bring students to Resnick Pavilion exhibitions: 19

The space is actually one large square (a full acre of art). Since the inaugural trio of exhibitions, however, it has been split into three spaces to accommodate the exhibition schedule. Looking back at a year of the constant metamorphosis of the pavilion, you can see how the space adapts to the objects it holds.

Here is a quick look at the exhibitions that have been housed in the Resnick Pavilion over the past year.

Installation view, photo by Alex Vertikoff

Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico
October 2, 2010–January 9, 2011
Installation view, photo by Alex Vertikoff

Eye for the Sensual: Selections from the Resnick Collection
October 2, 2010–January 2, 2011
Installation view, photo by Alex Vertikoff

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700–1915 October 2, 2010–March 27, 2011

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700–1915
October 2, 2010–March 27, 2011
Installation view

David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy
April 3–July 24, 2011
Installation view, © The Estate of David Smith/VAGA, New York
Photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at Islamic Courts
June 5–September 5, 2011
Installation view

Tim Burton
May 29–October 31, 2011
Installation view

California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way”
October 1, 2011–March 25, 2012
Installation view

We’ll be adding another exhibition to this list, Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World,  next month, plus many more in the coming year.

Alex Capriotti


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