This Weekend at LACMA: A Clockwork Orange Screening, ICE Performs Soundtracks to Kubrick and Richter Films, and More

June 14, 2013

After nearly eight months of awe and intrigue, Stanley Kubrick leaves LACMA at the end of June. It’s been quite the crowd-pleaser and we’ve been celebrating the final days of this exhibition throughout the museum.

The Kubrick and Co. film series—screenings of Kubrick classics paired with works of the same ilk—carries on with A Clockwork Orange and Privilege on Friday night. The future is not what we anticipated, with malevolent governments and violent, roving gangs terrorizing citizens in these two feature films about dystopian worlds of tomorrow. Purchase tickets for both movies online or at the Ticket Office.

On Saturday evening at 7:30 pm in the Bing Theater, we honor the music of Kubrick’s films, and those of Hans Richter, in the the final installment of the 2013 season of Art & Music. Featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble, this ode to Stanley Kubrick and Hans Richter: Encounters has the New York City-based group, led by 2012 MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase, playing live renditions of the soundtracks to film clips from the two famed directors. Additionally, ICE will do a live accompaniment to the film adaption of Eight Songs for a Mad King. This show is an L.A. Times Critic’s Pick and tickets are still available.

Pan out (way out!) from Kubrick on the Miracle Mile and you’ll come across the second week of LACMA9 Redlands Art + Film Lab, at the University of Redlands. Visit this mobile lab and participate in free art and film workshops, an oral history project, and free outdoor film screenings through July 7. This weekend you can catch Stand and Deliver, starring Edward James Olmos as an East L.A. high school teacher who inspires a group of students with no ambitions to learn calculus and take control of their future. Saturday night brings to the big (outdoor) screen The Last Picture Show, a Hollywood classic depicting a group of high school students coming of age in a small and crumbling west Texas town after World War II. Visit the Redlands Art + Film Lab anytime after noon to explore all it has to offer.

Back at the museum, our customary fare of free, live music starts Friday night at 6 pm, with the Billy Childs Quartet performing at Jazz at LACMA. Pianist and bandleader Billy Childs has won multiple Grammy Awards and played with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Sting. Saturday evening at 5 pm you’ll find Grammy-nominated Imaginacion performing in Hancock Park, LACMA’s backyard, during this week’s installment of Latin Sounds. Then, at Sundays Live, on Sunday, pianist Daniel Schlosberg performs works from Beethoven and Brahms in the Bing Theater. All of these concerts are free to the public and do not require reservations.


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

Around the museum, you can discover contemporary art from James Turrell, the luminary from the 1960s and 70s Southern California Light and Space movement. Reservations in advance are strongly recommended as capacity for this new exhibition is very limited. For more contemporary art walk through Stephen Prina: As He Remembered It, LACMA’s addition to Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The paint on the models in our Peter Zumthor exhibition are still barely dry—see the exhibition for a glimpse of his proposed plan for LACMA’s future. In the Hammer Building, view Masterpieces from the National Museum of Korea for artwork from the Josean Dynasty. Lastly, in the Art of the Americas Building, Compass for Surveyors: 19th Century American Landscapes features all of the nineteenth century American landscapes paintings from LACMA’s collection.

Roberto Ayala

LACMA’s Art+Film Lab Hits the Road

June 12, 2013

Last week LACMA launched an ambitious new program, the LACMA9 Art + Film Lab. The mobile lab, designed by Jorge Pardo, will spend the next sixteen months visiting nine communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, starting in Redlands and continuing to San Bernardino, Monterey Park, Altadena, Compton, Torrance, and more. For five weeks in each community, the lab will offer free filmmaking workshops, free outdoor movie screenings, and the chance to collaborate with artist Nicole Miller on an artwork that will be on view at LACMA on select Community Days. Unframed’s Scott Tennent asked Hanul Bahm, Community Engagement Manager, for details.

LACMA 9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

LACMA9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

How did the Art + Film Lab come about?

The James Irvine Foundation has been working really hard in Southern California to reach certain communities that are geographically underserved or where there’s not a lot of arts and cultural infrastructure. They’ve taken it upon themselves to give seed money to small grassroots organizations, as well as large institutions like LACMA, with the hopes of bringing arts programs to diverse, regional communities. We proposed the LACMA9 project because we felt it would be an extension of the in-depth outreach we’ve been offering for over a decade within libraries, community organizations, and schools.

LACMA 9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

LACMA9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

How did Jorge Pardo become involved in this project?

When we decided that we wanted to offer this mobile art and film programming, we realized that it would be great to provide it in a vessel that felt like an artwork. Jorge Pardo’s practice lives at this intersection of sculpture and design. He seemed like a natural to build a lab space that would stand as a public artwork, but that would also have the functionality to offer programming. It’s a very happy, inviting space, which is good. Sometimes out in the community there’s a perception that art museums are either inaccessible, elitist, precious, or out of touch. I think the lab will draw people just out of the sheer joy it radiates. We want to get to know the residents of these communities by being their neighbors for five weeks and building those bridges. The Art + Film Lab is like a “mini-me” of LACMA. Through the inviting space created by Jorge’s sculpture, added to all the really rich, creative, free programming we’re offering, we wanted to introduce ourselves and provide a small taste of what’s available at LACMA. 

Tell me about the programs offered in the lab. Who can participate in the workshops and what do they need to bring?

You just have to bring yourself. We know the people coming into the lab will have various degrees of arts background or access to tools—including none. We welcome complete beginners. We’re trying to focus on what’s empowering about the filmmaking and video art process, which is often collaboration—the collective genius of a group working together. The workshops are about process and play.

There was a hope from LACMA and also from the Irvine Foundation that we try to reach adult audiences as a priority. We won’t discourage kids and teens from coming. But we really want to reach adults and give them the opportunity to try new things or explore their personal voice. This is like our red velvet cake for them to come and enjoy and meet other adults in their community, and play filmmaker or video artist for a day. 

LACMA 9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

LACMA9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

What are the free art and filmmaking workshops?

There are four kinds of introductory workshops. “Soundscapes” explore all the elements of a soundtrack, in addition to what composers contribute. Environmental sound, like the hum of an air conditioner or a dripping faucet, can create emotional, psychological, subliminal tension in storytelling. We’re giving people sound recorders to record environmental sounds. We’re also showing them how they can create sound effects, or foley, from everyday objects. “Composition” is very much about shot design, quality of light, and the frame size of your shot. This is a moving image medium; unlike a painting or a photograph, you can focus the viewer’s gaze on what you want to bring their attention to, over time.

Another workshop, called “MiniDocs,” helps people find their personal sense, or subjective relationship, to people and place. We’ll probably go on mini field trips together with cameras to different locations to make a brief document that explores the essence of a person or place’s character. The last workshop we’re offering is called “Instant Film,” which simulates the production pressure and creative constraints that artists and filmmakers work under. We’re grouping people into small crews of three or four. They draw a theme out of a hat, and they have to interpret that theme and also brainstorm creative constraints—like maybe their video has to be one shot without an edit. It’s highlighting how creativity often happens within parameters, and you have to be resourceful when faced with a problem. We’ll set them out to create something on the spot as a group, then we’ll bring it back to the lab for an instant screening.

LACMA 9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

LACMA 9 Art+Film Lab, photo by Duncan Cheng

In addition to the free workshops, you also have free outdoor movie screenings on Fridays and Saturdays, right?

Southern California has a really rich legacy of drive-in cinemas, which in different cities has evolved into movies in parks. We are bringing really wonderful films—what we humbly hope other audiences will consider great films—including Hollywood classics, foreign films, and independents from all around the world. This weekend in Redlands, for instance, we are screening Stand and Deliver and The Last Picture Show. 

One of the most unique and exciting parts of the Art + Film Lab’s program is an oral history project, in collaboration with artist Nicole Miller. How can people participate in this project?

Nicole Miller has a unique practice that is a hybrid of documentary and video installation art. She explores notions of self-representation, in contrast to representations in popular media. The oral history project lets people play either interviewer or storyteller in front of the camera and draw on a personal memory or a significant moment in their lives. They get to make a document of that in front of the camera, and they’ll get an instant, unedited copy on the spot. Nicole will review the documents created by the community members, and then she’ll contact a few people in each community to make a collaborative work that will screen at LACMA on select Community Days. That’s the final component of our programming: once we’ve finished our five-week residencies in each city, we’re inviting everyone back to the museum to enjoy LACMA for free on select Sundays. We’ll have arts programming there for families and communities to enjoy, and we’ll screen Nicole’s work. It will come full circle—we’re going into their communities, and we’re hoping that they’ll come back and visit us.

The Art + Film Lab will be in Redlands through July 7. Free outdoor screenings are offered every Friday and Saturday. For dates and times of free workshops and Oral History Project, as well as a full listing of future Art+Film Lab destinations, visit the Art+Film Lab page.

Filming Roden Crater

June 9, 2013

The video below, part of James Turrell: A Retrospective, captures some of the experience of the artist’s work-in-progress: the transformation of an extinct volcano, Roden Crater, into a monumental work of art.

Erin Wright, Director of Artist Initiatives at LACMA, produced the short film. We talked to her about what it was like to visit Roden Crater.

Describe Roden Crater and its state of completion?
Roden Crater is not yet a finished project: it has several completed spaces, but Turrell’s vision is that it should eventually have twenty different spaces in which to view events in the sky. The hope is that enough funds can be raised to complete the lion’s share of project in the near future.

It’s an artwork that is, in essence, a naked eye observatory—built so that you have a way of seeing certain objects and events in the sky that would not otherwise be visible. So it was important to us to capture a solar event that happens during the winter solstice in December. Following that, we returned to interview the artist and capture footage of the parts of the project that have been built so far.

There’s a space called the Sun and Moon Chamber to observe celestial events—you can see images of the sun and moon on the surface of a large basalt stone called the “image stone.” Leading up from that stone is an approximately 900 foot tunnel that leads to a portal—an opening to the sky. The 900 foot tunnel acts as a giant refractor telescope and contains a very large lens at the center to focus the light.

A number of the spaces inside Roden Crater are Skyspaces where you can observe dawn and dusk; the color of the sky becomes incredibly vibrant as you’re watching it from inside the crater, because of the way Turrell has designed the Skyspace. If you walked outside, the color of the sky would be different. Turrell intends for the visitor to sit, from the onset of sunset until dark, to experience the full effect.

What is it like to try to capture the experience of Roden Crater?
It’s really, really difficult to film the spaces properly because they have such an awe-inspiring effect. With the Sun and Moon Chamber you have the celestial events happening in a very dark space with bright light passing, and it takes all the color out of the footage. When I first saw the footage I thought my cameraman had gone rogue and shot it in black and white. Because of the extreme light conditions: a very dark space with a very bright beam of light, it’s hard to detect any color. So it was important to capture shots of that space in a different situation when the lights were on, to convey the scale and beauty of the chamber.

James Turrell, Roden Crater Project, view toward northeast, photo © Florian Holzherr

James Turrell, Roden Crater Project, view toward northeast, photo © Florian Holzherr

What isn’t apparent in the film?
There’s something at the center of the crater’s bowl—an area that you see at the end of the film, called the Crater Plaza, and there are four large rectangular plinths that surround the crater eye. These are meant for people to lie down on and observe the sky and a phenomenon that is called celestial vaulting, where you can see the curve of the sky. You’re only able to see that because of the way Turrell has shaped the rim of the crater. He is manipulating your vision by allowing you to experience this phenomenon of seeing the sky as a dome rather than a flat plane.

Where will the film be shown?
We are showing it in the exhibition, and the Guggenheim is planning to screen the film during the summer as part of the programming related to their Turrell exhibition opening in late June.

Amy Heibel

Take part in our upcoming Turrell Trifecta Google Art Talk! Learn more and submit your question for curators of various James Turrell exhibitions at LACMA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim.

This Weekend at LACMA: Peter Zumthor Plan Unveiled, LACMA9 Art + Film Lab Opening Weekend, Free Music, and More

June 8, 2013

It seems that hardly a week can go by without LACMA sharing something new. This time, on Sunday, the buzz-worthy exhibition The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA opens to the public (members have early access through Saturday). Take a look back at the environment and context that led to LACMA as we know it and gaze into a potential future currently being shaped in this examination by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. You’ll see detailed drawings of fossils found on the grounds from eons past and a six ton, 30-foot wide model of what the campus could look like in the not-too-distant future. A proposition of this magnitude demands a lot of thought and consideration; take a look at Director Michael Govan’s rationale for this project on Unframed from earlier in the week and watch a discussion between Govan and Zumthor that took place on Monday in the Bing Theater.

Installation view, The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA

Installation view, The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA

Kubrick and Co. continues this weekend at 5 pm and includes Red Desert and 2001: A Space Odyssey, both films sharing stark, minimalist composition and commentary on the unsettled relationship between man and machine. Kubrick and Co. runs through weekends in June, when the praised Stanley Kubrick exhibition ends its display at LACMA on June 30.

If you want to see (free) live music this weekend, LACMA is your one-stop shop for all things melodic. Latin Sounds bring the Aguabella Band to Hancock Park (directly behind LACMA) at 5 pm on Saturday; and Sundays Live hosts pianist Inna Faliks and her rendition on Schumann’s Davidsbündler.

Additionally, while you’re here you can also visit Henri Matisse: La Gerbe in the Ahmanson Building, showcasing for the first time together the large ceramic and the paper cut-outs that brought this piece to life. A few floors up you’ll find a special installation of elaborate Tibetan paintings in Pictorial Relationships in Tibetan Thangka Painting and Furniture, Part II: Animals. Visit the Pavilion for Japanese Art to see Japanese Painting: Okyo and His School in the Bird and Flower Tradition among other ornate works of art from East Asia in our collection. Families, make sure you take advantage of  Andell Family Sundays too.

Maruyama Okyo, Cranes (detail), 1772 (An’ei period, 1772-1780), gift of Camilla Chandler Frost in honor of Robert T. Singer

Maruyama Okyo, Cranes (detail), 1772 (An’ei period, 1772-1780), gift of Camilla Chandler Frost in honor of Robert T. Singer

Also happening this weekend further afield from the museum is the opening weekend of the LACMA9 Art + Film Lab, this month in Redlands at the University of Redlands. Generously funded by The James Irvine Foundation, the Art + Film Lab is a public outreach initiative designed to bring free art and film workshops, an oral history project, and free outdoor film screenings to the centers of nine communities around Los Angeles.

LACMA9 Art + Film Lab, 2013 © Jorge Pardo Sculpture, photo © 2013, Museum Associates/LACMA

LACMA9 Art + Film Lab, 2013 © Jorge Pardo Sculpture, photo © 2013, Museum Associates/LACMA

The mobile lab, designed by Jorge Pardo, will spend five weeks at each of the nine cities and gradually make its way closer to LACMA. After the lab leaves each location, residents from those cities will be invited to visit LACMA on a special Community Day at the museum.  The LACMA9 Art + Film Lab is just one example of LACMA’s education team bringing art out of the museum and into the community. Visit the Redlands Art + Film Lab page for complete listings of free workshops, outdoor screenings, and more.

Roberto Ayala

A Day at LACMA… in MacArthur Park

June 6, 2013

Every Thursday and Friday at 2:15 pm, I have my typical routine. I walk across Carondelet Street to the sounds of students at the end of their day. I pass parents sitting on benches and street vendors selling ice cream. The neighborhood is historic MacArthur Park. The school I visit every week is Charles White Elementary School, the former site of Otis Art Institute.

Every year, the school’s art gallery becomes the venue of an Education-driven exhibition project. This year, we worked with New York-based artist Shinique Smith to show her work alongside selections she curated from the museum’s Costumes and Textiles collection, including pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene, and Philip Treacy.  Smith’s work served as both the inspiration and lens from which students created mixed media collages that are also on view.

Geoffrey Beene, Woman’s Evening Dress, c. 1972, gift of Margo Winkler

Geoffrey Beene, Woman’s Evening Dress, c. 1972, gift of Margo Winkler

Last fall we transformed the then empty and inert gallery into a dynamic art studio.  Over 100 students from the after school program participated in workshops focused on Smith’s work and process.  Students explored what inspired her, from graffiti to an oil spill.  They considered their own sources of inspiration, which they documented in journals.  One student drew cars; another, a portrait of her mother.  Each idea was fodder for an art project.  We led the students in creating calligraphic brush paintings using sumi ink and watercolors.  The students then took fabric scraps and found objects and, much like Smith in her own work, created art out of something ordinary and discarded.

The gallery at Charles White Elementary School was used as an art studio prior to the exhibition installation

The gallery at Charles White Elementary School was used as an art studio prior to the exhibition installation

Detail of student artwork

Detail of student artwork

In many ways, the student artwork is like any object in a gallery.  At first glance, they are just collages.  But upon closer study, process is revealed.  I see the deliberate choices the kids made in picking and placing their materials.  I see the manner in which they employed their brush and can trace their hand movements.  I see them finding a voice through art, especially when language is an obstacle. 68% of the student population is comprised of English Language Learners.

Our initial goal with this project was primarily to activate a gallery into an art exhibition, but ultimately I think we activated a little something in each of the students.  Recently I watched two students take to the artistic process in ways that educators hope.  The first student showed her methodical approach as she arranged her brushes according to color.  She experimented by alternating between her fingers and brushes as painting tools.  She also dripped paint by holding her “canvas” vertical.  The second student was just as iconoclastic.  He was the first to introduce a hanging component in his artwork, expanding the confines of the canvas.  He also innovated a painting technique in which he rolled a paint brush between his hands, creating a signature gesture distinguishable in his artwork.

The artist at work

The artist at work

To access the gallery during school, I walk across the playground.  A soccer game is always in full swing.  I’m greeted by several spirited students who have come to associate my colleagues and me with LACMA.  I descend a set of stairs before reaching the entrance to the gallery.  I look up and see the Entry Arches, one of the first public art monuments created in MacArthur Park.  The sound of a busy street corner sneaks into the gallery as I open the doors.  I pass the threshold, turn on the lights, and get ready for another day.

Shinique Smith: Firsthand is on view through July 19, 2013, at Charles White Elementary School.  Thursdays and Fridays the gallery is open, 2:30-6 p.m. and every second Saturday, including this weekend, is Family Day, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Eidelriz Senga, Education


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