Franz West had some very specific—and highly unusual—instructions for our exhibition installation team. That’s where the dice rolling comes in…
There’s nothing quite like exhibition installation—lots of museum staff bustling about the galleries, cacophonous construction sounds, objects not yet installed and out of context. In other words, it’s the exact opposite of a gallery open to the public. Last week I checked in on the Franz West installation over the course of one day; here’s what I saw…
9:30 am: Senior Curator Stephanie Barron arrives. (Yes, she’s the Art of Two Germanys curator as well. A busy lady.) Installers begin unpacking crates—big plywood boxes with black stenciling on them—many of which seem large enough to fit a piano. A number of works on paper are already on the walls. They will remain covered with sheets of butcher paper until closer to the opening to protect them from light, which can cause deterioration over time.
11:45 am: I come back and notice lots of chairs scattered about; these are actually objects created by West that visitors are welcome to sit on. Right now, out of the context of a polished exhibition, they look like part of the busy scene and, for me at least, not yet like art.
1:30 pm: I return to the gallery amidst a discussion about mounting three large light sculptures that are intended to hang from the ceiling—Kobo (2003), Prieso (2003), and Hermo (2003). It’s a tough job, and there’s just one shot to get it right. Lots of gesticulating from the top of the scissor lift. 5 JA “Take This” (1977), a newspaper clipping colored with fluorescent orange paint, sits on a nearby table awaiting inspection on its condition.
4 pm: I pop by one final time as the day draws to a close and run into conservator Don Menveg, who is rolling out an unusual-looking vacuum from the galleries. It was originally used to clean Jeff Koons’s Tulips, which was on view in the BP Grand Entrance when BCAM opened. This time, Don has put it to work on West’s objects. Vacuuming art. Somehow that never crossed my mind before.
More on the Franz West installation later this week. For now, a hint: things get a little dicey.
After months of poring over countless submissions for Young Directors Night, we narrowed the field to eight short films that screened in the Bing Theater on Friday night. Having experienced everything from Symphony‘s digital journey through space and time to the tune of Vivaldi, to Zombie Prom‘s rollicking tale of nuclear love, YDN’s host committee and audience were faced with the unenviable task of choosing just one winner. After an extremely close vote, Adrian Castagna took home the second annual Art of Film Award with his film El Ojo Unico, an adrenaline-filled foray into a futuristic Buenos Aires where television reigns supreme. Congratulations to Adrian and his entire cast and crew for their victory, as well as those behind all the other fantastic films.
See the Art of Film Award winning El Ojo Unico.
Jason Gaulton, Muse Coordinator
This past weekend, we launched the first artist’s book published with LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography—Shannon Ebner’s The Sun As Error. The book, which had its launch at New York’s White Columns gallery and at the design duo Dexter Sinister’s Occasional Bookstore on Ludlow Street (Shannon also signed her book at the Wallspace gallery booth at The Armory Show), is the first of what I hope are many artist’s books we publish—information about our publishing marathon will follow in future blogs. For now, visit ArtForum online to read Shannon’s report on the process and meaning of The Sun As Error.
The Franz West show doesn’t open until next week but you can get a look at what’s to come right now. A couple of objects, Swimmer and Violetta, have already been installed in public areas. Be on the lookout if you’re here this weekend.
What are you planning on doing after this?
I have rehearsal for an a capella group I’m in, so I’m running off to that.
Have you ever been inspired by art?
Yes. My roommates and I call it “projecting.” Typically, mine is fashion related; I like to paint on shirts and create something.
What are you reading right now?
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
What do you do?
I’m a professor of anthropology at USC.
Why did you come to the museum today?
It’s my birthday.
Have you ever been inspired by art?
Some of the landscape artists inspire me to go see those places, like the Alps or the Rockies, because we didn’t have cameras then and you want to see how an artist portrayed the landscape 150 years ago.
Franz West, To Build a House You Start with the Roof: Work, 1972-2008, opens at LACMA March 12, and one of the pieces on view, Liege (1989), requires the daily inclusion of local newspapers. We’d like to heighten the level of participation in this already interactive exhibition by inviting you to bring by a section or two of the L.A. paper you look at in the morning for the show. Here’s how it works: drop off your favorite read—must be a current edition—in the box at the LACMA staff entrance (located to the left of the Wilshire and Spaulding entry) by 11 am throughout the duration of the show (closes June 7) and we’ll get the papers into the galleries each day where they will be placed on a couch for visitors to peruse.
We’ve got the Los Angeles Times covered, so give us a hand with news sections of the others. We’re especially interested in non-English language dailies so that we can represent the diversity of our community in the show. It’s a great opportunity to take part in a LACMA exhibition in an entirely new way, and we hope you’ll pitch in.