Friday and Saturday Night: Young Women Filmmakers from Mexico

May 6, 2013

This Friday and Saturday (May 10-11), LACMA celebrates its freshly reinstalled Latin American art galleries with a special film program: Young Women Filmmakers from Mexico—a special screening organized with AMBULANTE.  Established in 2005 by wunderkinds of Mexican cinema Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz, AMBULANTE is a non-profit organization that champions documentary film as a prompt for social change and critique.  The organization offers grants, training programs, workshops, and film screenings throughout Mexico and abroad, including areas of Mexico in which such resources are seldom available.

This weekend’s screenings offer four films at LACMA, which will be followed by conversations with some of the directors. Each of the films is in Spanish with English subtitles, and a translator will be on-hand for each of the Q&As.  The best part? Admission to the screenings is free! (Tickets are required; reserve online here.) The special program is hosted by AMBULANTE and supported by the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles and the Latin American art department at LACMA.

Friday, May 10 | 7:00 pm
El General (The General), directed by Natalia Almada, 2009

In this film, director Natalia Almada reflects on the history of her great-grandfather Plutarco Elías Calles, Mexico’s controversial president from 1924-1928.

Friday, May 10 | 9:30 pm
Intimidades de Shakespeare y Víctor Hugo (Shakespeare and Victor Hugo’s Intimacies), directed by Yulene Olaizola, 2008

At the intersection of Shakespeare and Victor Huge streets in Mexico City, lodging house owner Rosa Carbajal met the affable Jorge Riosse, a young tenant who would soon become her closest friend. After his unexpected death, details emerge that jeopardize the persona of the man Rosa thought she knew.

Saturday, May 11 | 5:00 pm
El Lugar Más Pequeño (The Tiniest Place), directed by Tatiana Huezo, 2011

The emotional, social, and cultural scars of the El Salvadorian civil war are revisited through an array of first-person narratives and striking cinematography.

Saturday, May 11 | 8:00 pm
Mi Vida Dentro (My Life Inside), directed by Lucia Gaja, 2007

The story of 17-year-old Rosa, a Mexican citizen living illegally in the United States and held on the suspicion of murder, offers insight into the experience and treatment of immigrants in America’s judicial system.


This Weekend at LACMA: Hans Richter Opens, Dance Camera West, Stewart Copeland & Michael Gordon, and More

May 3, 2013

Opening this weekend is our latest exhibition, Hans Richter: Encounters. Richter began his career in Germany in the early twentieth century and moved to New York in 1941. In both Europe and the U.S. Richter came in contact with, and collaborated with, many of the greatest artists of the century including Malevich, Duchamp, Ernst, Man Ray, Viking Eggeling, and many more. Richter’s practice also encompassed a variety of media—painting, journals, and cinema. The exhibition, which features 150 works by Richter and his contemporaries, covers it all. Encounters is open to members right now, and opens to the public on Sunday. Special to the opening, on Sunday you can see the new documentary Hans Richter: Everything Turns – Everything Revolves in the Bing Theater. The film’s director, David Davidson, will be here in person for a conversation following the free screening. (And don’t miss the related exhibition, Hans Richter’s Germany, on view now in the Ahmanson Building.)

Hans Richter, Triptych in Gray, Red, and Green, 1959, private collection, © Hans Richter Estate, photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Hans Richter, Triptych in Gray, Red, and Green, 1959, private collection, © Hans Richter Estate, photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Dance fans, come down to the Bing Theater all afternoon and evening for Dance Camera West’s 12th annual Dance Media Festival. The event begins at 3pm with a short, live dance performance outside of the Bing (repeated at 7pm), and inside we’ll be screening short films about dance throughout the day. The final screening will be The Man Behind the Throne, a documentary about director and choreographer Vincent Paterson, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Cirque du Soleil. Paterson will be here for a Q&A following the screening. See the full day’s schedule of films here.

If you’d rather have a picnic in the park (or drinks and dinner at Ray’s and Stark Bar), soundtracked by some world-class jazz, then head to our main entrance this evening for tonight’s free Jazz at LACMA, featuring the brilliant sax and flute player Charles Owen leads his virtuosic quintet.

That’s the first in a series of outstanding musical performances at LACMA this weekend. On Saturday we are thrilled to have composers Stewart Copeland (formerly of the Police) and Michael Gordon (founder of the Bang on a Can Festival) here for a conversation, moderated by the Long Beach Opera’s artistic director, Andreas Mitisek. Members of the Long Beach Opera will be on hand to perform excerpts from Copeland and Gordon’s operas, The Tell-Tale Heart and Van Gogh—see a little of The Tell-Tale Heart below. (This event is part of our excellent Art & Music series. Future events in the series include Steve Reich and friends this Tuesday, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.) in June.) Finally, the weekend’s concerts close out with Sundays Live—a free performance by the Colburn School Orchestra.

The weekend is full of stimulating lectures and tours, too. In addition to our regular docent tours of the collection, which are free with admission, we’ve also got three more, in-depth talks. On Saturday afternoon Peter Parshall, former curator of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art, will discuss Rembrandt’s knack for storytelling. The event is free. On Saturday night, quench your intellectual thirst and your taste for fine wine with the Art of Wine—Monet to Matisse and French Café Society. You’ll get a guided tour of the French art galleries plus a tasting of five French wines. (While you’re at it, don’t miss our exhibition Henri Matisse: La Gerbe.)

Henri Matisse, Tea, 1919, bequest of David L. Loew in memory of his father, Marcus Loew, © Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse, Tea, 1919, bequest of David L. Loew in memory of his father, Marcus Loew, © Succession H. Matisse, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The engaging talks continue on Sunday, when curator Robert T. Singer will guide you on a free tour of our exhibition Japanese Prints: Hokusai at LACMA, which features some of the greatest artworks by one of Japan’s most iconic artists.

Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, c. 1830–31, gift of the Frederick R. Weisman Company

Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, c. 1830–31, gift of the Frederick R. Weisman Company

Finally, as usual we’ve got great opportunities for families this weekend, including free family tours of the collection on Saturday morning, and awesome outdoor art-making activities during the free Andell Family Sunday, which this  month is taking its inspiration from the East Coast and West Coast landscapes on view in our American art galleries.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, Thomas Hill, United States, 1864, William Randolph Hearst Collection

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, Thomas Hill, United States, 1864, William Randolph Hearst Collection

That’s a lot to choose from! And as usual, there’s still more—including exhibitions on Stanley Kubrick, Henri Matisse, Stephen Prina, and more. Check out our full list of featured exhibitions and even more exhibitions to plan your ideal visit.

Scott Tennent


Close Encounters with Hans Richter

May 2, 2013

The versatile and multiply talented Hans Richter–whose exhibition opens on Sunday (and to members today)–was equally at home as a painter, filmmaker, and writer, helping to bring about groundbreaking advances from Expressionism and Dadaism to Constructivism and Surrealism to experimental and avant-garde film. For Richter, whose Rhythmus 21 and Rhythmus 23 are among the first abstract films ever created, the future of art and film were one and the same.

Richter’s life and creativity brought him into contact with a virtual Who’s Who of early twentieth-century pioneers, many of whom we include in the exhibition: Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and many others. When driven out of Germany by the Nazi regime, Richter eventually made his way to New York, where he taught film at City College and became engaged with the émigré artists’ community as well as the pioneers of New American Cinema, including Jonas Mekas, Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, and Standish Lawder, among many others.

Hans Richter, Schlittenfahrt (Skating), c. 1915, Kunsthaus Zürich, © 2013 Hans Richter Estate, Photo: Kunsthaus Zürich

Hans Richter, Schlittenfahrt (Skating), c. 1915, Kunsthaus Zürich, © 2013 Hans Richter Estate, Photo: Kunsthaus Zürich

The social import and utopian outlook of Richter’s art is a legacy of his first encounters with the avant-garde through artists and intellectuals associated with the leading Berlin artistic circles of the 1910s where he experienced both Cubism and the Expressionist Blaue Reiter aesthetic. For Richter, the Cubists brought not only “a new sense of harmony . . . a quiet, more powerful music” but also “the courage, the audacity to dare this step. They jumped from the world of natural objects into the fragmentation of objects, so I jumped too.” Simultaneously he fell in with the pacifist and anarchist crowd around the periodical Die Aktion (The Action), whose contributors he described as an assortment of “expressionists . . . , socialists, Tolstoyists, cubists, poets, and politicians.” The strong sense of social conscience Richter gained from his engagement with these creative circles was intensified by his experience in World War I. Seriously injured within a month of his induction in September 1914, Richter was eventually discharged from active duty and in 1916 made his way to Zürich’s Café de la Terrasse to keep an appointment with two Expressionist poets he had made partially in jest two years earlier on the eve of his induction. Suddenly he found himself in the midst of the most radical artists’ group in Europe at the time, Zürich Dada, whose members included Hans Arp, Marcel Janco, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Tristan Tzara.

While taking part in the Dadaists’ exhibitions, Richter experienced abstraction in its purest form in the abstract embroideries by Adya van Rees and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Taeuber-Arp’s abstract works influenced Richter’s paintings and films, but equally as important, in her search for “principles of order” she shared, along with Hans Arp’s “enchanted” language, a purpose for art similar to Richter’s pursuit in collaboration with Swedish artist Viking Eggeling of a “universal language” that could bring all of humanity together.

Richter and Eggeling began with abstract drawings and paintings based on musical analogs: Richter was inspired by a suggestion from Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni to try counterpoint, “movement and counter-movement. So then I used the paper like a musical instrument.” Richter began making scrolls, including Orchestration der Farben (Orchestration of Colors), 1923/1970, which convey an ambiguous space in which forms seem to move through time. The next step came with a joint decision by Richter and Eggeling that their sequential forms were best suited to the film medium, and Richter evolved a revolutionary idiom over the course of his films Rhythmus 21 and Rhythmus 23, in which the very elements of cinema (the screen, the presence, and absence of light) allow the screen to represent nothing but itself, immersing the viewer in a single field where the work of art exists in a continuum between cinematic and architectural space, as seen in LACMA’s exhibition.

Hans Richter, Vormittagsspuk/Ghosts Before Breakfast, 1928,  © Hans Richter Estate

Hans Richter, Vormittagsspuk/Ghosts Before Breakfast, 1928, © Hans Richter Estate

On the occasion of the Baden-Baden Music Festival in 1928, Richter presented his film Vormittagsspuk (Ghosts before Breakfast) with music by Paul Hindemith. Over the next few years Richter was deeply involved in film and even acted as a film curator for the now famous 1929 FiFo (Film and Foto) exhibition in Stuttgart. This was one of the first exhibitions to bring film and photography together in an aesthetic called “New Vision.” Hans Richter: Encounters includes photographs by Karl Blossfeldt, Anton Bruehl, Imogen Cunningham, Florence Henri, André Kertész, Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Werner Rohde, Maurice Tabard, Umbo, and Edward Weston, a number of these from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection and the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection at LACMA. After a decade of making industrial and commissioned films in Holland and Switzerland, Richter managed to escape the increasingly desperate conditions for Jews in Europe and arrived in New York in 1941. Upon his arrival, Richter reflected on the events in Europe in monumental scrolls that treated epic moments from the war, combining painting and collage techniques.

Gesture was an equal starting point for his films and his paintings, as Richter made clear in a remarkable scrapbook of 1942. In this sequence of more than one hundred drawings (made available to the visitor digitally in the exhibition), Richter explains his working process for creating the painting Dragonfly (Counterpoint in Red, Black, Gray, and White), 1943.

Hans Richter, Dragonfly (Counterpoint in Red, Black, Gray, and White), 1943, private collection, © 2013 Hans Richter Estate, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Hans Richter, Dragonfly (Counterpoint in Red, Black, Gray, and White), 1943, private collection, © 2013 Hans Richter Estate, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Throughout the exhibition we see how Richter transported forms or procedures between artistic media. He achieved spectacular results in his American films, and especially in Dreams that Money Can Buy (1944–47), an enchanting film made in collaboration with John Cage, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Darius Milhaud, and Man Ray (among others), shown in a special theater within the exhibition. Ever the Dadaist, Richter kept up with the new generation of neo-Dada, pop, neorealist, and Fluxus artists, making his own multiples and Dada-redux pieces and greeting the next generation with the hope “that art’s original magic will be brought to life again.”

Timothy O. Benson, Curator of the Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at LACMA

Hans Richter: Encounters opens this Sunday. Member previews are open Thursday through Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, LACMA is presenting a free screening of the new documentary Hans Richter: Everything Turns — Everything Revolvesfollowed by a Q&A with the film’s director, David Davidson.


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