Free Kubrick App

November 27, 2012

Fans of the exhibition Stanley Kubrick will likely find the free app for iPad/iPhone that we released last week to be the next-best thing to a trip to the Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts London. Thanks to the Archive, the app includes photos and documents that provide rare insight into the director’s working process.

Dress rehearsals for the spaceship crew for 2001: A Space Odyssey, with costume design by Hardy Amies, London. © Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc., Photo courtesy of the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts, London.

Some of the highlights included in the app are outright amusing. Take, for example, the correspondence around the production of 2001: A Space Odyssey, regarding the computer HAL. “Does IBM know that one of the main themes of the story is a psychotic computer?” Kubrick asks Roger Caras.

Letter, courtesy of the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts, London.

We also included Kubrick’s handwritten notes and drawings describing the movement of the Australopithecus characters in the film, along with dozens of other script documents, production notes, and images.

Kubrick’s detailed notes regarding the Australopithecus characters in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Courtesy of the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts, London.

The app features excerpts from a rare 1965 interview with Kubrick courtesy of interviewer Jeremy Bernstein. Kubrick talks about everything from his early childhood (“I was a school misfit…“) to working in Hollywood (“Film directing is a misnomer for anybody who seriously wants to make films…“).

And we included exclusive video interviews with Stan Douglas, Chris Nolan, David Slade, Terry Semel, and Douglas Trumbull. Trumbull reflects on the special effects work he did for 2001: A Space Odyssey and, like the others, pays tribute to the legacy of a director who helped define the art of film.

Amy Heibel


Art in the Tar Pits and other “Lost” Works

November 26, 2012

In 1970, artist Terry O’Shea mailed a letter to curators at LACMA describing both a gift and an action. O’Shea had been the 1966 recipient of the Young Talent Award (an honor that has for nearly four decades taken the form of prize funded by the Modern and Contemporary Art Council and more recently as an acquisition fund in the guise of AHAN: Studio Forum), and was contacting the curatorial staff to alert them to the work he had produced for LACMA as part of the terms of the distinction. O’Shea made a cast-resin sculpture with colored striations that was indicative of his Light and Space–leaning work—and then threw it unceremoniously into the La Brea Tar Pits.  The letter and a black-and-white photograph of the sculpture are now part of the permanent collection.

Terrence O’Shea, Documentation of the Artist’s Act of Placing One of His Sculptures in the La Brea Tar Pit, 1971, Modern and Contemporary Art Council, New Talent Purchase Award

As I was working through LACMA’s database and moving through the museum’s various storage areas in preparation for the new exhibition Lost Line: Contemporary Art from the Collection, I thought often about this “lost” object in the collection. What does it mean to “collect” something that is submerged in the primordial soup next door? At the same time, with the frenzy of interest surrounding Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass (and a new wave of scholarship around Land Art), I found myself gravitating to works in the collection that considered location, from the underground to the aerial, from street level to the global stage.

Many land artists, including Michael Heizer, used methods of removal, burial, and displacement to create site-specific pieces, often of monumental proportions but with different intentions than the traditional forms of monuments (as memorials, e.g.). All this made me think of Gabriel Orozco’s witty alternative to the monument, a work in LACMA’s collection called Lost Line, from which the exhibition takes its name. The artist once described this piece as “the opposite of a static monument… a sculpture as a body in motion”—a notion that reinforced my approach and challenged me to think beyond the usual suspects associated with earthworks.

Gabriel Orozco, Lost Line, 1993–96, gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation

Lost Line, the exhibition, is therefore not organized by chronologies or movements but by a more freeform sensibility that invites associative or lateral meanings. I wanted to consider Buckminster Fuller’s print of his cartographic innovation, the Dymaxion World Map, in relation to Dennis Oppenheim’s Removal Transplant-New York Stock Exchange and James Welling’s “foil” photographs. The small-scale sculptural constructions of Barbara Kasten which result in obtuse architectural studies could dialogue with Yunhee Min’s gallery intervention—a hybrid painting, sculpture, and architectural construct.

As has happened in my previous curatorial endeavors, I connect to works that bring the outside elements inside the galleries. Thus whether in the stains and spurts of Ingrid Calame, the drywall of Pablo Rasgado, or the rebar faux ficus trees of Ruben Ochoa, there is an invitation for the tar to seep up through the gallery floors. Maybe, just maybe, O’Shea’s work will finally resurface.

Rita Gonzalez, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art


This Weekend at LACMA: 10 Exhibitions, Member Shopping Days, Final Jazz at LACMA, and More

November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! If you’ve got family in town, or are just looking for a fun way to spend the holiday, we have a feast of exhibitions on view right now, detailed below. The weekend also includes two free concerts: tonight, the Phil Norman Tentet closes out another stellar season of Jazz at LACMA (returning in the spring); then, on Sunday night Musica Angelica will perform music of the Italian Baroque at Sundays Live.

As a special to members, we are glad to offer our annual Member Shopping Days on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Show your membership card in our Art Catalogues or the LACMA Store for an extra 10% (total 20%) off most merchandise. You’ll also receive 10% off your meal in the LACMA Café and a free cookie with purchase of a beverage at C+M. Thank you for supporting LACMA!

Speaking of Art Catalogues, on Sunday artists Bettina Hubby and Joe Sola will take part in a conversation and performance at Art Catalogues, followed by a reception and book signings for Get Hubbied and Joe Sola 2006–2011. The event is free but seating will be limited.

Now, about those exhibitions on view. There are ten special exhibitions up right now, from French ceramics to surrealist drawings to Expressionist cinema to contemporary SoCal artists. Also: Caravaggio and Stanley Kubrick. Check out the full rundown below and click on the links for details. Caravaggio and Kubrick are specially ticketed exhibitions—make reservations ahead of time as this will be a busy weekend.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Ecce Homo, 1605, Musei de Strada Nuova, Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, Italy, photo © Musei di Strada Nuova

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy

Stanley Kubrick during the filming of 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1965–68, GB/United States, © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Stanley Kubrick

André Breton, Yves Tanguy, Jacqueline Lamba, Cadavre exquis, 1938, Sylvio Perlstein, © 2012 André Breton Estate, © 2012 Jacqueline Lamba Estate/ARS/ADAGP, Paris, © 2012 Estate of Yves Tanguy/ARS

Drawing Surrealism

Ken Price, 100% Pure, fired and painted clay, collection of Frank and Berta Gehry, © 2012 Ken Price, photo © 2012 Fredrik Nilsen

Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective

Daily Pleasures: French Ceramics from the MaryLou Boone Collection, installation view, © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Daily Pleasures: French Ceramics from the MaryLou Boone Collection

Robert Mapplethorpe, Leigh Lee, N.Y.C. (Z Portfolio), 1980, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, partial gift of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by the David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust, 2011, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ

Walter De Maria, The 2000 Sculpture, 1992, Collection of Walter A. Bechtler-Siftung, Switzerland, © 2012 Walter De Maria, photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Walter De Maria: The 2000 Sculpture

Horst von Harbou, Untitled (robot Maria dancing in night club), 1926, film still from Fritz Lang’s movie Metropolis, purchased with funds provided by the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation, Beverly Hills, CA

Masterworks of Expressionist Cinema: Caligari and Metropolis

Installation view, Michael Heizer: Actual Size

Michael Heizer: Actual Size

Ed Ruscha, Actual Size, 1962, anonymous gift through the Contemporary Art Council, © 2012 Edward J. Ruscha IV. All rights reserved. Photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Ed Ruscha: Standard

All these exhibitions plus Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, and eleven more exhibitions and rotations on view all over campus. Enjoy the long weekend!

Scott Tennent


The Art of the Original Feast

November 21, 2012

As we get ready to prepare for the big feast this Thursday (by the way, LACMA is closed on Thanksgiving Day but open normal hours on Friday) it’s interesting to note what foods were served at the original feast in 1621 between the Plymouth colony and the Wampanoag tribe.

Using images from the departments of LACMA’s permanent collection, here’s a pictorial look at what would (and would not) have been eaten in Plymouth almost four hundred years ago:

George Fuller, Girl with Turkeys, circa 1883-1884, gift of William T. Cresmer

Pablo Picasso, The Turkey, 1936, gift of The Ahmanson Foundation

Wild turkeys were abundant in the area, but they may not have been the focus of the meal. Other types of poultry were also caught and served . . .

Kawase Hasui, Mandarin Ducks, September, 1950, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Juda

Korea, Lidded Ewer with Willows, Reeds, and Waterfowl, Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), 13th-14th century, Anonymous gift

In addition to poultry, venison was also served as one of the main courses.

China, Kneeling Deer, Tang dynasty, 618-906, gift of Carl Holmes

Living off the East Coast, seafood was definitely a main food staple! Fish, lobster, shellfish, and other bounty caught from the ocean were also a part of the main meal.

Republic of the Fiji Islands, Breast Ornament (civa vonovono), circa 1850, whale ivory, pearl shell, and fiber, purchased with funds provided by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation with additional funding by Jane and Terry Semel, the David Bohnett Foundation, Camilla Chandler Frost, Gayle and Edward P. Roski and The Ahmanson Foundation

These are just a sampling of the vegetables and nuts that would have been included at the Thanksgiving table.

Japan, Okimono in the Form of a Rat on a Corn Cob, late 19th century, gift of Allan and Maxine Kurtzman

Mexico, Colima, Squash Vessel, 200 B.C. – A.D. 500, The Proctor Stafford Collection, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch

William Merritt Chase, Just Onions (Onions; Still Life), 1912, Signed lower left: WM. M. Chase, Mary D. Keeler Bequest Egypt

These are just a sampling of the vegetables and nuts that would have been included at the Thanksgiving table. But take a look what wouldn’t have been served because potatoes didn’t become popular in North America until the 1700s after colonists had brought them over from Europe, which explorers had brought back from South America.

Claes Oldenburg, Baked Potato, 1967, Collection of Michael and Dorothy Blankfort

Cranberries may have been present in the North America around 1621, but there was no written records found to prove that they were served at the meal.

Harold Edgerton, Cranberry Juice into Milk, 1960, printed 1985, gift of the Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation

All of us at LACMA wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Devi Noor, Curatorial Administrator, American Art


Romancing the Rock

November 20, 2012

“O ‘tis a passionate Work!—yet wise and well.” William Wordsworth

In the glint of the gold morning light it can seem like an unpolished gem. Its fawn, fractured, and chipped surface is a kind of giant jewel captured for its powerful, compacted energy that exudes both charming warmth and the violence of its creation.

Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, or as some of our patrons call it, “the rock,” comes with a history: Land Art. This was about dirt! In an iconic statement by Willoughby Sharp, “Earth is an archaic condition, the source of a material world,” or “a futuristic voyager in the zone zero,” as Jane McFadden characterized it in an essay in MOCA’s Ends of the Earth catalogue.

Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass, conceived 1969, realized 2012, made possible by gifts to Transformation: The LACMA Campaign from Jane and Terry Semel, Bobby Kotick, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Elaine Wynn, Linda, Bobby, and Brian Daly, Richard Merkin, MD, and the Mohn Family Foundation, and is dedicated by lacma to the memory of Nancy Daly. Transportation made possible by Hanjin Shipping Co., © Michael Heizer, photo by Tom Vinetz

Wasteland, the Sahara, the atomic desert, Ground Zero, the dry lake beds of the Mojave, the American apocalyptic landscape, the mythical elsewhere—all are  backgrounds of bareness, a geometrical geography for the new Land Art.

Born in the time of putting Americans on the moon, the space race, and the cold war, the drama of art’s limitations played out in everything. It was the intoxicant of a generation, its zeitgeist. It was part of the rage at a time when many artists broke with the old order to contribute to this new medium. Framed within the violent social upheaval interwoven with the civil rights movement and “happenings”—the ephemeral art events that dominated media coverage—frontiers were altered.

Somewhere in the mix, the Americans freed themselves of the smaller narrative. Here Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, and others would give the new art form a raw epic dimension. They would scar the earth itself, where the full understanding of the piece could only be achieved with an aerial record. One needs only to imagine the escape from galleries bound by ceilings, floors, and walls—from the tight narrative to the grand epic. Michael Heizer’s 1969–70s Double Negative, a massive 50-by-30-by-1500-foot trench cut into the dry terrain of Mormon Mesa in Nevada would become a paradigm for these land sculptures.

Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass, conceived 1969, realized 2012, made possible by gifts to Transformation: The LACMA Campaign from Jane and Terry Semel, Bobby Kotick, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Elaine Wynn, Linda, Bobby, and Brian Daly, Richard Merkin, MD, and the Mohn Family Foundation, and is dedicated by lacma to the memory of Nancy Daly. Transportation made possible by Hanjin Shipping Co., © Michael Heizer, photo by Tom Vinetz

That was the “then”out of which Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass came to fruition in 2012 at LACMA. Here was a guy as seriously, or better, compulsively, committed to searching for the ideal rock as a jeweler searches for the perfect stone. But forty years on, like romance, they found each other in the Jurupa Mountains Quarry. Its form, a vague gem shape, struck me as  a rough, blond diamond-like entity, though unlike any of the rocks in Heizer’s Actual Size exhibition.

I would go so far as to suggest that this may be the perfect symbol for the twenty-first century—an abstract piece of the earth’s crust, forty to eighty million years old, mounted on a sophisticated, sleek architectural concrete trench. It is a bizarre union of a conceptual realization of positive and negative, the profound past and a very human, technologically abstract future/present.  LACMA’s director, Michael Govan, writes from the art historian’s point of view, “That idea of the negative, a monumentality of absence, is an utterly important invention in art.” This shares the stage with the Duchampian universe of “readymade’s” and science’s “dark matter.”

To be fair, for many patrons, “the rock” is an enigma: “It’s just a rock!” “Give me a break?” Is art without a mythology an art we can understand? Here worlds, archaic and rudely fresh, collide. Conceptualism has the conceit that the mere veil of intellectual irony in phenomena leads to some form of enlightened awareness; but it just as easily is inscrutable, an anachronism. Or being cynically down to earth, it may just be another tool in the human box of tricks.

Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass, conceived 1969, realized 2012, made possible by gifts to Transformation: The LACMA Campaign from Jane and Terry Semel, Bobby Kotick, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Elaine Wynn, Linda, Bobby, and Brian Daly, Richard Merkin, MD, and the Mohn Family Foundation, and is dedicated by lacma to the memory of Nancy Daly. Transportation made possible by Hanjin Shipping Co., © Michael Heizer, photo by Tom Vinetz

Wonderfully, Levitated Mass is without irony, though it skirts a certain spiritual aridity. But equally so, the growth of understanding of the universe has enlarged the questions about the human experience. The arts may be one of the only forms able to visualize those questions. From my more prosaic moments of guarding “the rock,” I was touched viscerally, and I have come to believe that it presents the most formal contemplation of nature and art—something universal!

An abstraction that dares to come clean might very well be what it’s about! The wild thing brought into our urban world of asphalt, rubber, and glass, where we are made to wonder at its powerful, massive presence and be baffled  by the artist’s intention. How like architecture and how unlike architecture it is. The color of sand, it comingles with land and the giant sky right in our backyard. Regal!

Hylan Booker


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