Bound to The Clock

March 21, 2012

This weekend, we will be holding another twenty-four-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock. This video collage, which pieces together thousands of film and television clips, has redefined how we look at time.

In The Clock, common themes surround each hour of the day. Whether in an old black-and-white film or in a French neo-noir, breakfast is eaten at breakfast time. Actors in every film struggle with punctuality each time the hour comes to a close. The attention of the everyday employee is directed towards the clock as five o’clock nears.

During our screenings last year, audiences mirrored this effect. The morning crowd would saunter in, still waking up, downing their lattes before heading into the theater, while the actors on screen started their own coffee pots. The late-night crowd’s rowdiness mimicked the intensity of the midnight hour in the film. The Clock, in an uncanny and subtle fashion, illuminates how our daily lives bend to the will of time.

Inspired by this idea, a quick look through our collections online reveals a similar motif of art bound to time. Below are pairings from our collection that combine a clock showing a specific time with an artwork depicting daily life during that time of day.  The subjects in these works, like the actors in Marclay’s film, carry about their days unknowingly bound to the clock.

6:10 AM—The early morning hours

Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, circa 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Georg Metzner, Table Clock and Case, c. 1650, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda

Kawase Hasui, Morning at Dotonbori, Osaka, February 14, 1921, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda


9:07 AM—Late to work

Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop,Clock, circa 1905

Gustave Bovy-Serrurier, Serrurier-Bovy's Workshop, Clock, c. 1905, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans

John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann

John Gutmann, Sunset Boulevard at Figueroa Street, 1948, printed later, gift of John Gutmann

11:16 AM—Meetings

Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr' Clock, circa 1938, purchased with funds provided by Maura and Mark Resnick

Karl Emanuel Martin (Kem) Weber, Lawson Time Inc., ‘Zephyr' Clock, c. 1938, purchased with funds provided by Maura and Mark Resnick

China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch

China, Meeting of the Bodhisattvas Manjusri (Wenshu) and Samantabhadra (Puxian), Inscribed with a thirty-four-character dedication, dated 742, middle Tang dynasty, gift of Henry and Ruth Trubner, estate of Hedwig Worch


12:58 PM—Lunchtime!

Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913

Hendrik Berlage, Becht & Dyserinck, ‘t Binnenhuis Ltd. (The Interior), Clock, 1903-1913, gift of Max Palevsky

Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit, Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch

Seated Couple Preparing and Eating Food, Mexico, Nayarit, Nayarit, 200 B.C. - A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch

7:37 PM—Gathering for supper

Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, circa 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds

Howell & James, Lewis F. Day, Clock, c. 1878, Decorative Arts Deaccession Funds

Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, circa 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Filippo Tarchiani, The Supper at Emmaus, c. 1625, William Randolph Hearst Collection


11:15 PM—Dream a little dream

Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, circa 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky

Johann Frederick Ebelein, Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, Mantle Clock and Plinth, c. 1745, gift of Mr. Jack Linsky

Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), 1910 circa, printed 1910 circa, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin

Bangs, Frank C., Untitled (Bonnie Maud), c. 1910, The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation, acquired from Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin


4:37 AM—Sleep becomes them

L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans

L. and J. G. Stickley, Tall Case Clock, circa 1906-1912, gift of Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans

Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold

Hermann A. Scherer, Sleeping Woman with Boy, 1926, gift of Anna Bing Arnold

Alex Capriotti


A Quiet Moment: Himalayan Art Galleries

March 20, 2012

There’s been a lot of movement here at LACMA lately. First, Metropolis II went on view in January. Then, the 105-mile journey of the 340-ton megalith that will be a part of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass concluded on March 10. When I want to slow down, I go to the Himalayan galleries, located on the fourth floor of the Ahmanson Building, to look at art from Tibet and Nepal. The most obvious reason is that these galleries are really quiet and beautiful. I also go for personal reasons. I practice meditation in a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Some of the artwork reminds me of Buddhist teachings I’ve learned.

Installation view, Himalayan art galleries, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Take a look at the image below of the sculpture of the Buddha Shakyamuni. The first thing I notice when I visit this Buddha is the sweet smile. To me, that smile makes him look very human. There are so many details to look at. Notice that the cloth over his shoulder is incised delicately with a pattern. Look at his hair. You may be able to see a tinge of blue paint. Now look at his body, which is in a traditional meditation posture: seated cross-legged, back straight, gaze downward. He makes two different hand gestures or mudras. His left hand is in the meditation mudra, and the right hand is in touching-the-earth gesture, which is also known as the Buddha’s first moment of enlightenment.

Buddha Shakyamuni, Central Tibet, Himalayas, c. 11th century, gift of the 1996 Collectors Committee, © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

This sculpture would have been part of an altar and a focal point for meditation and ritual. Meditation instructors often say that one of the biggest obstacles to meditating is forgetting the technique. By looking at this sculpture, I remember how to meditate: sit upright, lower my gaze, and focus my attention on my breathing. If you would like to, take a moment while you are reading this to sit like the Buddha. You can do it in your chair, no need to sit on the floor. What do you notice?

The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Western Tibet, Himalayas, 11th century, from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Museum Associates purchase, © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Another one of my favorites in this gallery is this small sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. The term bodhisattva refers to a large group of beings who, although they are almost enlightened, choose to be reborn to help followers on the Buddhist path. Avalokiteshvara is associated with compassion. The mudra of the palm facing forward is an indication of giving.

Even though these artworks are not in their original setting, they still evoke contemplation and stillness.

Alicia Vogl Saenz, Senior Education Coordinator


Alight Anew in Indian Yellow

March 19, 2012

Conservator John Hirx immersed in Jesús Rafael Soto's Penetrabile, 1990.

The Jesús Rafael Soto sculpture, Penetrabile, a favorite of visitors posting to Flickr, has a new look. The piece invites one to plunge into the colorful soft plastic tubing and regard the world from within a forest of glowing color.

Head objects conservator John Hirx recently oversaw the transformation of the piece. The original chartreuse tubing was replaced with new tubing in a shade that one of John’s colleagues described as “Indian yellow.” (Conservators are precise about such things, and John notes by way of historical interest that the term “Indian yellow” is derived from a color popular in traditional Indian miniature painting made by feeding mango leaves to cows, then collecting and drying their urine to extract the pigment—today, the pigment is synthetic, as the original method was hazardous to the cows. The tubes are not made with this pigment, but the color is a close approximation.)

Exchanging all of the tubes was no small task. John estimates that the piece requires 20,000 linear feet of the specially manufactured plastic tubing, and a complete back up set is on hand to facilitate ongoing maintenance. There are between 2,000 and 2,500 tubes suspended from the overhead grid. It took two teams working 2.5 full days just to swap out the tubes, each of which was precut to the perfect length to rest lightly on the ground, resulting in a gentle bend that catches the light. John noted that, right now, between about 11 am and 1 pm, when the sun passes across the sky overhead, those tubes sparkle and glisten in the midday sunlight.

Penetrabile, on loan from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, is on view on the LA Times Central Court at LACMA for at least another year.

Amy Heibel


This Weekend at LACMA: Nowruz Celebration, Robert Adams, Ellsworth Kelly, In Wonderland and More

March 16, 2012

Happy Iranian New Year! This weekend at LACMA we are celebrating Nowruz with a full day of free activities all across campus on Sunday from 11:30 am to 7 pm. The day begins with traditional Persian music, dancing, and costumes and continues with storytelling and calligraphy for kids as well as a Haft-Sîn display. The award ceremony for the 2012 Farhang Short Film Festival will occur in Brown Auditorium, followed by a screenings of the top films from the festival. The celebration will be capped off with a live musical performance by Iranian pop star KamyR. Visit lacma.org for a complete and detailed list of events.

Things over at Broad Contemporary Art Museum are hopping! This weekend is an excellent opportunity to see the newly opened photography exhibition, Robert Adams: The Place We Live, a retrospective of the seminal photographer’s forty-year career. Also in BCAM on the second floor, Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings continues through April 22. Chris Burden’s futuristic city, Metropolis II, will be in action all weekend but be sure to check the schedule for specific operating times before you plan your visit.

Robert Adams, New development on a former citrus-growing estate, Highland, California, 1983, printed 1988, Yale University Art Gallery, purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund, © 2012 Robert Adams

Installation view, Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings, Ellsworth Kelly, Purple/Red/Grey/Orange, 1988, Graphic Arts Council Discretionary Fund, © 2012 Ellsworth Kelly

On the third floor, some of BCAM’s artworks, including Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog(Blue) and Cracked Egg (Red), will be deinstalled on March 25, so you have just a few more days to see these iconic works of art before they go off view for a while.

Gallery view Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog(Blue) and Cracked Egg (Red), The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica; John Baldessari, Buildings=Guns=People: Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog), 1985-89, The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica

This weekend is also a great opportunity to swing by the Resnick Pavilion to catch both California Design, 1930–1965: “Living in a Modern Way” and In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States. Members get to see In Wonderland for free. If you’re here Sunday, stick around for a free concert in the Bing Theater from our Sundays Live concert series, featuring UCLA Philharmonia.

Have a great weekend, and we hope to see you here!

Jenny Miyasaki


Levitated Mass: What Next?

March 15, 2012

Now that the 340-ton megalith has completed its 11-night, 105-mile journey, what happens next? I asked John Bowsher, project manager for Levitated Mass, that very question. “The spectacle’s over,” he said. “Now we make the artwork.”

As difficult as it was to transport the giant boulder from Jurupa Valley to the middle of Los Angeles, that is only the beginning of the process of realizing Michael Heizer’s sculpture. With all elements of the artwork now gathered in one place, Heizer will make the trip from Nevada to Los Angeles to oversee the placement of the boulder atop the 456-foot-long slot already constructed in the earth along the Sixth Street side of LACMA’s campus.

Megalith and slot slated to become part of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Michael Heizer, photo © 2012 by Museum Associates/LACMA

Or, mostly constructed. In fact about 75 feet of the slot remains to be dug—we had to leave the land flat until the massive transporter rolled onto campus. Once the transporter is disassembled (already under way) and its parts are trucked out, work on completing the slot will begin. (For more on the construction of the slot, see this article on County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website.)

Slot slated to become part of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Michael Heizer, photo © 2012 by Museum Associates/LACMA

Meanwhile, as the transporter is taken apart, a 700-ton gantry is being assembled to place the megalith atop the slot. The gantry is a steel framework that will be able to lift and lower the boulder as well as move it horizontally (as much as 60 feet). As the gantry positions the boulder, it will be secured by pins to the steel shelves jutting out from the center of the slot. This will secure the boulder to the slot and will safeguard it against seismic activity. Once pinned, Heizer will strategically place steel wedges between the boulder and the shelves.

The final element of the artwork to be completed will be the surrounding 2.5 acre site, comprised of a compressed decomposed granite.

How long will all of this take? A couple of months at least. For the moment we anticipate opening Levitated Mass to the public in late spring or early summer. We will update you with an opening date in the coming weeks.

Scott Tennent


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