Listen to Art: Muse ‘til Midnight

August 21, 2012

This Saturday, LACMA Muse hosts the 16th annual Muse ‘til Midnight event. This year, the program will take over the modern and contemporary galleries and fill them with soundtracks performed by DJs and musicians including Geographer, Dublab, and Silent Frisco.

Fresh from their performance at Outside Lands, indie rockers Geographer will take the main stage in front of Chris Burden’s Urban Light at 9 pm. SPIN magazine describes their sound as “insistent beats that prop up shy, reverb-drenched vocals.”

DJ collective Dublab will once again bring their sonic explorations and eclectic sounds to the LACMA campus. With numerous live and silent performances happening in galleries, walkways, and even elevators, the collective is always full of surprises.

To keep the party going without disturbing the neighbors, Silent Frisco’s custom wireless headphone technology will bring the BP Grand Entrance to life with a not-to-be-missed silent disco. Use your personal headphones to switch back and forth between two Dublab DJ sets.

The full schedule for the evening will be posted later this week. Tickets are on sale now. All tickets include two free drinks, parking, and access to all performances. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Alex Capriotti

High School Interns Help with Conservation at Watts Towers

August 20, 2012

This summer, an exciting project has been happening at the Watts Towers Conservation Center. With support from the Ahmanson Foundation and in partnership with the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, LACMA created an eight-week internship during which three graduates of the UCLA/Getty Program are paired with two recent graduates of Verbum Dei High School. Verbum Dei’s Jesus Real and Hector Morataya worked with UCLA/Getty alums Molly Gleeson, Lily Doan, and Suzanne Morris. Here are some of their thoughts about their experiences so far.

Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers, 1921–1954, photo © 2011 Museum Associates/LACMA

from Lily Doan and Molly Gleeson:

Being newcomers to this project, we spent the first week training under Watts Towers Conservation staff, and we are now responsible for teaching Hector and Jesus about the ongoing care and preservation activities on the site and for introducing them to the field of art conservation and historic preservation. Our work this summer will focus on a condition survey and the remedial treatment of two of the smaller structures (the A and B Towers) and the overhead connecting elements throughout the site, as well as archival research on the two smaller towers. We’re excited to be introducing Hector and Jesus to this work, which is very timely, as both are heading off to college in the fall and will soon be making decisions about their future career paths.

Up on the scaffolding, Hector Morataya cleans a detached green bottle glass fragment found on an overhead element.

from Jesus Real and Hector Morataya:

As students from Verbum Dei, a prominent institute in the Watts community, an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the world of conservation at a site so (literally) close to home was one that we could not pass up. This opportunity was made known to us through a teacher in our art history class, where we took a visit out to the towers themselves and learned about their history in the community as well as a bit about Sam Rodia. Now that we are actually working and learning new things each day on site, the entire experience seems only greater. In the first two weeks alone, we learned so much about the philosophies of conservation and the importance of preserving this historical and cultural landmark. Even more incredible is that we both are taking in this entire experience within our very own community. This is one aspect within the entirety of the project that we value greatly. We hope to keep up our work with the project and take in every part of the experience to our full advantage.

Jesus Real checking for loose fragments on an overhead element.

This Weekend at LACMA: Four New Installations Open, How To Train Your Dragon, Free Concerts, and More

August 17, 2012

In addition to our five special exhibitions currently on view, as well as monumental artworks like Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass and Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, this week we’ve opened a number of smaller exhibitions and installations. Opening Saturday in the Art of the Americas Building is The Studio Glass Movement: 1962–2012. Museums across the country are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the studio glass movement, which originated at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962 in workshops led by artist Harvey Littleton. Since then glass has ceased being considered a solely industrial material and is now a vibrant artistic medium in and of itself. LACMA’s exhibition includes works by Littleton, Dale Chihuly, Stanislav Libensky, and more.

Harvey Littleton, Red/Blue Combination Arc, 1984, gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser

Also just opened in the Ahmanson Building is a small but diverse collection of photographic prints under the simple title Young, which look at the theme of childhood, and looking at children as subjects of art.

Jan Saudek, Child, gift of Graham and Susan Nash

In the South and Southeast Asian galleries, two installations have are now on view: Unveiling Femininity in Indian Painting and Photography,  which presents works from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries on the title theme. Not far from that installation is Alia Syed: Eating Grass, a presentation of films by this contemporary experimental filmmaker. Keep your eyes on Unframed for blog posts on both of these shows soon.

This week is heavy on concerts at LACMA: last night was all about hip hop with Through the Mic, tonight is Jazz—Guitarist Grant Geissman brings his exuberantly named Pop! Bang! Boom! Band to Jazz at LACMA—while Saturday sees Brasil Brazil take the stage for Latin Sounds. The weekend winds up with a Sundays Live tribute to Debussy, who was born 150 years ago this year.

Our free Friday-night family-friendly outdoor films continue tonight with the dazzling animated fantasy How to Train Your Dragon.

The dragon theme continues on Sunday during our free Andell Family Sunday, where you and your kids can learn about dragons in our collection and then make your own!

Scott Tennent

Tonight! Through the Mic: Freestyle Fellowship and Breakestra

August 16, 2012

Our monthly hip hop concert series Through the Mic returns tonight with co-headliners Freestyle Fellowship and Breakestra. Freestyle Fellowship are among the forefathers of L.A. hip hop. The quartet–Aceyalone, Myca 9, Self Jupiter, and P.E.A.C.E.–formed more than twenty years ago and were staples of the legendary Good Life Cafe scene. Their albums To Whom It May Concern and Innercity Griots are landmarks of independent hip hop, and all four members have stayed prolific as a group or as solo artists ever since. Their fifth and most recent album is The Promise, from 2011.

Breakestra  has been around nearly fifteen years, taking on different line-up permutations but always retaining a blend of 60s and 70s funk and soul, and 80s and 90s hip hop, adding up to something that is totally contemporary. Breakestra has released albums on excellent hip hop labels Stones Throw and Ubiquity, including their most recent, Dusk ’til Dawn, which features singer Afrodyete and Jurassic 5 MC Chali 2na. For tonight’s concert Breakestra will assemble as an eight-piece band that is not to be missed.

Scott Tennent

Artists Respond: Joe Biel on The Sun and Other Stars

August 15, 2012

Artist Joe Biel is the latest to take part in our Artists Respond series: web-based projects inspired by an exhibition at LACMA. Joe chose The Sun and Other Stars: Katy Grannan and Charlie White as his jumping-off point.

Inspired by the show, Biel created this online project, called Archive (fragment).  Here’s what he had to say about his response to White and Grannan:

I thought the exhibition was brilliantly curated, because both artists deal with a unified view of image but in totally different ways. My response is made up of images of things that I thought about while looking at the work in the show. There are all these things that leap to mind about society, image, entertainment, what’s real and what’s fictitious.

Charlie White, From the series “Casting Call,” 2010, LACMA, purchased with funds from the Ralph M. Parsons Fund, © Charlie White

For example, in the exhibition, Charlie White has this series of visually unified and similar looking blonde girls at a casting call. It communicates a real sense of uniformity. Looking at that work, I’m thinking about traditional ideas of beauty. So there are faces throughout my response– an image of JonBenet Ramsey, an image of an American Idol contestant, a girl from a Budweiser commercial, juxtaposed with mug shots of drug addicts and other documentary photos. I’m thinking about dichotomies, in response to that uniformity that Charlie presents.

From Archive (fragment) by Joe Biel

I’ve been working on a large scale drawing of 1100 television sets stacked up in towers, called Veil. The images that I chose to use in Archive (fragment) are part of the archive of imagery I’ve been collecting for Veil. I’ve been collecting those images the way a writer might approach a novel, creating categories of images the way a novelist might sketch out characters.

From Archive (fragment) by Joe Biel

For me, it was a challenge to work on something for the web. I traditionally make drawings and paintings. I don’t think I’ve ever made a web piece before. It was really freeing though. It allowed me to not worry about certain problems that I do worry about when I’m making an “object”: surface quality, scale, how the drawing will occupy a gallery space. I thought about this project more as a piece of literature. These are the pure images out of my archive before they’ve been manipulated. For that reason, the piece has a more anthropological quality than one of my drawings, which is cleaned up by choice. Looking at the online response is like reading someone’s diary, rather than reading a novel. I found the process interesting and liberating.

From Archive (fragment) by Joe Biel

As a slideshow, the piece is time-based, and that’s not a medium I’ve worked in much. This project allowed me to take what I’m working on in my big project and see a different aspect of it. I think of it as a circle rather than as a line. I wanted the slideshow to resemble a novel like Infinite Jest or Finnigan’s Wake, where at the end you loop back to the beginning. The last image is an image of Wittgenstein, and the first image is this Russian guy. To me they represent different sides of the same character.  The Russian guy has this look of intense tragedy on his face and Wittgenstein has this weird smile. But I’m bringing those opposites together by looping them together.

In real life, things that we try to keep apart are actually joined together in a messier way than we might want to acknowledge.

Amy Heibel


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