Bojagi, Community, and Social Engagement

June 23, 2014

We in the Boone, or “Boonies” as we are oft referred to, are officially called “Gallery Facilitators.” This title is particularly fitting for the work we have been doing with the new bojagi project in the Boone Children’s Gallery. Not only do we facilitate art making, but also conversations about art and art making, and the development of new skills and techniques.

Three outcomes of the project have particularly stood out: the level of excitement and enthusiasm, the awe-inspiring creativity of our visitors, and the ways in which people interact with each other and the project itself.

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When this project was first proposed, I worried that not enough visitors would be interested in sewing. I could not have been more wrong. We have excitedly witnessed everyone from three-year-old twins to teenage groups of friends and grandfathers actively participate. In fact, the bojagi has allowed those who would not usually participate in the gallery to create something.  With the bojagi, there is something for everyone to do in the Boone. In addition to the multitudes of folks coming into the Boone specifically for the bojagi, scores more, who initially come to paint, become interested after seeing the curiously large patchwork textile. After filling them in on the project and explaining what a bojagi is, nearly all visitors become eager to add their piece to what we hope will be the world’s largest recorded bojagi.

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We expected the bojagi to be unique and represent all participants, however visitors have surprised us with their unending innovation. Everyone is offered the same sized square of fabric but people have individualized their contributions in unexpected ways. Here’s what they’ve done with their squares:

—Using markers or paint, they have created everything from family portraits to abstract works

—Taking advantage of the many colored threads we have, they have embroidered names, slogans, and designs

—Using scissors they have cut out shapes, sewed them onto another piece of fabric, and stuffed them, creating a three-dimensional work

—With the needle and thread invented new one-of-a-kind stitches

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Seeing parents, grandparents, friends, and siblings learning to sew together has been very rewarding. More and more have we seen whole-family interaction. Families speak about the project and to one another in very positive ways and leave feeling proud and excited about having contributed to a large community-driven activity and the new skills they have learned. We have also noticed families staying much longer in the Boone and being more actively engaged; some visitors will sit down and sew for two hours, producing a sizable piece to add on to the bojagi, and others will vacillate back and forth between painting and sewing, sometimes even combining the two. Whereas painting can be a very singular or intuitive process, those who chose to sew are very open to suggestions and learning new techniques from staff and from other visitors.

 

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Just as the bojagi is a community project, a community has been growing around it, including complete strangers, who just happen to be sewing at the same time, striking up conversation and building relationships; a frequent occurrence. Although they are unable to take home what they have created, our visitors rarely take issue with having to leave their work behind, as they know they are contributing to a larger project and are excited about it. There are even many instances in which children want to continue sewing or request to sew at home, to which parents have been receptive and encouraging. In this way, both kids and adults can continue practicing their new found skill and hopefully bond over a shared and continued experience.

This new project has brought us closer with the public and also with each other. We hope to keep building these experiences with you for the duration of the bojagi project and beyond! The last day to contribute to the community bojagi is Monday, June 30, so don’t miss your chance to add this to monumental project!

Amanda Chen, Lead Gallery Facilitator, Boone Children’s Gallery


This Weekend at LACMA: Two Nights of Film, The Story of Venice, Free Nightly Concerts, and More!

June 20, 2014

Bask in the sun of a new summer this weekend at LACMA. Friday evening the talented Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) presents in person his debut English-language film Snowpiercer, a darkly lavish science-fiction thriller that boasts an esteemed international cast led by Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans, at 7:30 pm. The Nick Mancini Collective performs at Jazz at LACMA at 6 pm featuring the vibraphonist and bandleader Mancini. Jazz at LACMA is free and open to the public.

On Saturday join the 20-minute tour of Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible at 1 pm or a quick survey of 17th–century Dutch portraits, including Rembrandt and Hals at 2:30 pm. At 2 pm in the Brown Auditorium Bill Mohr and George Drury Smith look back at the literary heritage of Venice, California and read poems in the exhibition Edward Biberman, Abbot Kinney and the Story of Venice. This event is free and open to the public. In the early evening at 5 pm, Latin Sounds presents Argentinian-born vocalist Esther Segovia “La Gotan” in a free concert in Hancock Park. Finally, as part of the Arab Cinema Classics film series, see West Beirut and the story of the tumultuous spring of 1975 and the unfolding of the Lebanese Civil War.

Edward Biberman, Abbot Kinney and the Story of Venice, lent by the United States Postal Service®, recent conservation provided by Joel Silver, photo by Anthony Peres © 2014

Edward Biberman, Abbot Kinney and the Story of Venice, lent by the United States Postal Service®, recent conservation provided by Joel Silver, photo by Anthony Peres © 2014

Take it easy on Sunday with Andell Family Sundays at 12:30 pm, making your own Egypt-inspired art and exploring the collection of Egyptian art. In the galleries a few exhibitions reach their conclusion, including Agnès Varda in Californialand, Modern Japanese Prints: The Juda Family Legacy, Pavilion for Japanese Art: Paintings in Celebration of Twenty-Five Years, and Murmurs: Recent Contemporary Acquisitions. Dive deeper into the collection with the 1 pm docent-led tour “Medieval Stories in Stone” or a full walkthrough of the exhibition Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections at 2:30 pm. Then at Sundays Live pianist Daniel Schlosberg performs Johann Sebastian Bach at 6 pm. Summer’s here!

Roberto Ayala


Lucy Walker: On Her Work and on LACMA

June 18, 2014

LACMA recently invited the award winning-documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker to direct several films for the museum. The short film she made for LACMA about artist David Hockney was recently nominated for best short documentary at this year’s South by Southwest festival, was shown at the prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest in England (which takes place near Bradford, Hockney’s birthplace), and has just been featured in the Los Angeles Film Festival. Lucy spoke with Erin Wright, LACMA’s Director of Artist Initiatives, to talk about her work with the museum.

Erin Wright: I wanted to start by asking you about our first collaboration, The Museum, Reimagined. Can you briefly say what the film is about and what inspired the look and feel of this work?

Lucy Walker: The film is a conversation between architect Peter Zumthor and Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director about the new building for LACMA that they have dreamed up. I wanted the conversation and the ideas to be the heart of the piece, and the simple black-box background was inspired by the viewing room that Zumthor had designed for the exhibition about the building at LACMA. I wanted it to feel as if Michael and Peter were sitting in the black box with you, and the viewer was an intimate part of the conversation. 

EW: Did that film change your thinking about LACMA and the plan for our campus proposed by Peter Zumthor?

LW: I fell deeply and completely in love with the proposed building, and I would pay for it myself if I could! I couldn’t be a bigger fan of the project and am desperately hoping it will come to pass. To get to know the building is to fall in love with it. It would truly be a new kind of museum for our new century and could be the new heart of Los Angeles.

EW: Had you ever worked with a museum before on a film project?

LW: I’ve never before worked with a museum aside from filming inside museums for my film about Vik Muniz, Waste Land. I was a little intimidated at first, but I must say I could get used to the fabulous reverence with which artists are treated, I think filmmakers are generally used to being abused!

EW: You are well known for your feature-length documentary films, but a few years ago you received and Academy Award® nomination for the short The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. What’s compelling for you about the short-form documentary?

LW: I love making short work because it allows you to tell stories in different ways. The perfect length for a movie, I like to say, is 15 seconds short of boring. And what’s fantastic about short films today is that there is such an opportunity for them to be seen at fantastic events (such as the Art+Film Gala), at film festivals, and especially online.

hockney lucy

EW: Making the film David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes) for LACMA’s Art+Film Gala to honor Hockney was a wonderful opportunity for us to continue working together. Can you say a little about why you were interested in Hockney as a subject?

LW: I grew up in London and have always loved David Hockney’s work—my father was a fan and took me to see his paintings when I was a child, and it made a huge impression on me. Later as a keen high-school art student I became fascinated with his work and treasured his books and shows. And of course as a Brit living in L.A. he is now even dearer to my heart than ever, as I feel I am treading in his footsteps and I really relate to his appreciation for this city.

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Click through this still from David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes) to watch the complete film by Lucy Walker on artist David Hockney.

EW: Honoring David Hockney and Martin Scorsese last year was part of a larger Art+Film initiative at LACMA. Have any of our recent film related exhibitions (like Stanley Kubrick or Gabriel Figueroa) had a particular resonance for you?

LW: I confess I am a huge LACMA fan, and a great appreciator of so many exhibitions. If you force me to pick just one, the Kubrick show had a particular hold over me because Kubrick might be my favorite director of all, and his process is so particularly meticulous and fascinating and rich, and the exhibition was so fascinating, I kept going back for more and more and more. The James Turrellshow was also a recent highlight, I admit that I am such a Turrell nut that I once drove to Roden Crater and camped nearby, just to get a glimpse. It sounds too obvious to even state, but for me it a powerful truth, that looking at art inspires and informs my film work, my whole life.


Round Leather Worlds

June 16, 2014

Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, on view at LACMA through July 20, fascinates me for a number of reasons. First of all, I am Italian, and football is serious business to me, especially when comes to the World Cup. (It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s true!) Secondly, football was the subject of an exhibition organized in 2004–5 by Harald Szeemann, one of the most prominent curators of the 20th century. Poetically titled Rundlederwelten (Round Leather Worlds), the project was one of the last recorded in Szeemann’s monumental archive, which is currently being processed by the Getty Research Institute. It’s exciting to see in Los Angeles an iteration of Szeemann’s idea, and I wanted to take this fortuitous opportunity to look at Fútbol through the lens of Szemann’s original proposal.

 07-10 Harald Szeemann, floor plan of the Martin-Gropius-Bau with notes on possible themes and artists for his exhibition Rundlederwelten. Undated, approximately 2004, Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

(Click image for full size): Harald Szeemann, floor plan of the Martin-Gropius-Bau with notes on possible themes and artists for his exhibition Rundlederwelten, undated (approximately 2004), Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

(Click image for full size): Harald Szeemann, hand-drawn floor plan of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, undated (approximately 2004), Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

(Click image for full size): Harald Szeemann, hand-drawn floor plan of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, undated (approximately 2004), Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

Rundlederwelten was supposed to open in the upper floor of the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin and, like the LACMA exhibition, the show was meant to coincide with the World Cup, which was held in 2006 in Germany. (It was won by Italy—just saying.) Following Szeemann’s sudden death in February 2005, his family asked another curator to continue the project, given that many of the artworks that were to be part of the exhibition were already in the process of being made. Loosely inspired by Szeemann’s ideas, curator Dorothea Strauss opened the exhibition in the same venue in October 2005.

Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon, Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait (detail), 2006, © Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon

Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon, Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait (detail), 2006, © Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon

Walking around in the LACMA show, it was interesting to spot a number of artworks that Szeemann was also thinking to include in Rundlederwelten, such as the monumental Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait (2006) by Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon. Parreno and Gordon made this work around the time that Szeemann was organizing his exhibition, and Szeemann was going to premiere it at the Martin-Gropius-Bau. Some artworks by Andreas Gursky and Antoni Mutadas were also on the curator’s checklist, along with Caryatid (2004) by Paul Pfeiffer and Volta (2002–4) by Stephen Dean, both that are also on view in LACMA’s exhibition.

Stephen Dean, Volta, 2002–2003, Collection of William and Ruth True, Seattle, Courtesy of the artist and Baldwin gallery, Aspen, © Stephen Dean

Stephen Dean, Volta, 2002–3, Collection of William and Ruth True, Seattle, Courtesy of the artist and Baldwin gallery, Aspen, © Stephen Dean

Harald Szeemann, notes on Paul Pfeiffer's work, likely taken during a studio visit, undated, approximately 2000–2004, Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

(Click image for full size): Harald Szeemann, notes on Paul Pfeiffer’s work, likely taken during a studio visit, undated (approximately 2000–2004), Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

Having the privilege to research a private archive also means having access to the “backstage” of a project and all its different phases and issues. We see, for example, a number of prominent artists who refused Szeemann’s invitation. Hans Haacke, whom the curator approached, seemed skeptical about the possibility of making a cultural contribution about a sport event; he was also irritated by the global hysteria about football.

01-04 Research material on sports, collected by Harald Szeemann for his project Rundlederwelten. The Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30.

Research material on sports, collected by Harald Szeemann for his project Rundlederwelten, Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

The response by contemporary visual art represented just part of a larger inquiry. The fascination with the game was apparent throughout mass culture. Szeemann was interested in the ephemera around football. He collected naïve paintings on football, recordings of songs sung during the games, stickers depicting football players, postcards, and models of stadiums, which were gathered in collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron. Furthermore, Szeemann was corresponding with the leader of a German association, who was fighting against racism at the games, and the curator was considering screening a documentary about Palestinians and Israeli citizens playing together.

Images of naïve paintings by unknown artists, collected by by Harald Szeemann for his project Rundlederwelten. The Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

Images of naïve paintings by unknown artists, collected by by Harald Szeemann for his project Rundlederwelten, Getty Research Institute, 2011.M.30

In Szeemann’s vision, sports were just a vehicle that allowed artists to comment on broader topics, such as “business, mass psychology, voyeurism, media, cult of the relics, . . . philosophy of the everyday life, politics, architecture, religion,” as he stated in an unpublished note. As in many of his projects, Rundlederwelten would then have been an acute survey about the role of visual production in our society through the analysis of one of our recent obsessions.

Pietro Rigolo, Special Collections Archivist, Getty Research Institute


This Weekend at LACMA

June 13, 2014

Visit the museum this weekend for a break from the ordinary. In the Bing Theater, Academy @ LACMA presents Arab Cinema Classics, three selections from the 2013 Dubai International Film Festival’s list of the 100 greatest Arab films of all time. See the top two films first with The Night of Counting the Years at 7:30 pm followed by Cairo Stationat 9:20 pm. At Jazz at LACMA the Ernie Watts Quartet performs live, in front of Urban Light, featuring two-time Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts.

At the final weekend of the Compton Art+Film Lab at Lueders Park, check out a collection of all ages-friendly short films at 8 pm during the LACMA9 Shorts Program II. On Saturday, a Mini Docs workshop at noon teaches how to capture character, mood and detail on film. All levels are welcomed and equipment and tools are provided. Things wrap up with an Oral History drop-in session from 12:30 to 4 pm, where residents are invited to share a part of their own story. In a couple month’s time all lab participants are invited to a free day at the museum.

John Altoon, Untitled, 1964, from the Hyperion Series, pastel and ink on illustration board, 56 × 40 inches, Dr. David and Arline Edelbaum. © 2014 Estate of John Altoon, photo © 2014 Museum Associates/LACMA.

John Altoon, Untitled, 1964, from the Hyperion Series, Dr. David and Arline Edelbaum, © 2014 Estate of John Altoon, photo © 2014 Museum Associates/LACMA

Saturday’s Latin Sounds at 5 pm presents The Echo Park Project with a winning combination of original material and hot 1970s cover tunes. Earlier at 4 pm join a public conversation with Peter Zumthor, David Gregor, and Michael Govan at Art Catalogues or be part of a free walk-through of John Altoon with Los Angeles–based artist Charles Gaines and exhibition curator Carol S. Eliel. Later in the evening, the 1966 Clint Eastwood classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (newly restored!) screens at 7:30 pm. Remember to take a peek at the daily, free tour schedule and jump on a docent-led tour of Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible at 1 pm or look at our European art collection at 3 pm.

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 2012–13, gift of Carole Bayer Sager

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 2012–13, gift of Carole Bayer Sager, photo © 2014 Museum Associates/LACMA

Enjoy Father’s Day at LACMA on Sunday with Andell Family Sundays at 12:30 pm and make your own Egypt-inspired art. Enjoy more free tours, including the popular Highlights of the Museum: Ancient to Modern at noon, Islamic art at 2 pm, and a tour of rarely seen works in Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections at 2:30 pm. More must-see art includes Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky, Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic, Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, and Four Abstract Classicists. End the weekend on a harmonic note at Sundays Live  with a free concert from harpist Marcia Dickstein and Friends beginning at 6 pm.

Roberto Ayala

 


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