Tweets You Like

June 30, 2009


We thought you may enjoy perusing a selection of the most popular links we’ve sent via Twitter in the last couple of months. Judging by the number of clicks on url’s below, it appears you guys are really into stamps and Che Guevara. Interesting combo.

Good news, recent art grads! Even more reason to work in non-profit after college: –DN 3:29 PM May 28th from web

A peek into our Pompeii galleries 3:31 PM May 7th from TweetDeck

The Mona Lisa in 140 characters via @culturemonster –AA11:28 AM May 22nd from TweetDeck

From ‘53-’72, there was an actual pool @ Hollywood Bowl: Check out other LA imagery here: –DN 3:04 PM May 18th from web

1st class stamp prices go up to 44 cents today. Want to nominate your favorite artwork for a future stamp? See how: — DN 3:19 PM May 11th from web

The legacy of Che Guevara imagery in 388 pages—¡Viva La Revolucion! — ES 11:48 AM May 20th from web

Keep on clicking – we’ll start sharing your favorite links here at Unframed on a monthly basis.

Allison Agsten

Preserved in Ash, Preserved in Tar

June 29, 2009

The first thing I noticed when visiting Pompeii ten years ago was the smell of sulfur in the air. The scent serves as a current reminder that Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano prone to eruption. If you have ever visited LACMA on a hot summer day by way of the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits, you can imagine a similar repugnant odor—at times you can even witness the asphalt bubble up from the grass and seep up through the cracks in the sidewalk around the area.


Corner of Curson and Wilshire

The natural elements surrounding the areas of Pompeii and LACMA share a common thread: the volcanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius and the asphalt from the Tar Pits helped preserve the objects trapped in their respective areas for thousands of years. Fortunately for us, these finds help today’s public learn about the art historic and prehistoric past.

The asphalt from the imperceptible Tar Pits aided in maintaining the bones of the animals as the sticky residue trapped and encompassed any living thing unfortunate enough to get stuck in it, allowing modern archaeologists to examine the remains and piece together a timeline of the past. For example, the wall full of Dire Wolf skulls at the Page Museum next to LACMA reveals that a number of this species thrived in this area at a given time, perhaps even preying on the smaller animals stuck in the pits.

Similarly, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD caused layers upon layers of volcanic ash to fall on the towns around the Bay of Naples, virtually encapsulating the city of Pompeii. The mounds of ash shielded the city, stunting its deterioration from the outdoor elements until modern organized excavations began in the 1700s.


Peacock on a garden fence, 1st century BC-1st century AD, Pompeii

Particularly in terms of art history, the archaeological finds of Pompeii disclose a fascinating look into the life of ancient Rome. As our current Pompeii exhibition focuses on aspects of the Roman villa, the viewers are privy to the finest quality of art produced at the time since the wealthy patrons who could afford lavish dwellings could also sensibly afford to decorate them. Through frescoes depicting exotic birds signifying opulence, mosaics reflecting admired Greek philosophy, drinking vessels, sculpture, water fountains, and several other villa-related objects, today’s audience can get a glimpse into a flourishing, complex civilization approximately two thousand years prior defined by social rank, aesthetic, and cultural function through its art—and yet still vulnerable to its environs. While the show presents a vast amount discovered, it’s telling that with portions of Pompeii still unexcavated, there is still so much to learn.

Devi Noor

We Want Your Plastic!

June 26, 2009

This Sunday (and every day through September 20) you’re invited to drop by LACMA to help us collaborate on Choi Jeong-Hwa’s HappyHappy—a participatory art sculpture made from discarded plastic goods that’s part of Your Bright Future (which also opens Sunday, by the way).

LACMA’s staff got things started earlier this week with our own stuff rescued from the recycling bin (check out the video below), but there’s much more “work” to be done.

All you need to do to be a part of the show is bring your orange laundry soap jugs, green strawberry baskets, and other colorful plastic goods to the fences near our Sixth Street entrance where you’ll find zipper ties. Adhere your items to the fence in whatever way you like and voila—you’ve just helped create a bright, playful, and collaborative piece of art for L.A. (and perhaps even taken care of some of your recycling at the same time)!

Community involvement starts on Sunday, but I look forward to seeing the installation change and grow throughout the entire run of the exhibition and encourage you to keep coming back to watch this evolving artwork too.

Karen Satzman, Manager, Art Classes and Family Programs

Monument to the King of Pop

June 25, 2009

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988, The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica

Michael Jackson’s sudden death just about knocked me out of my seat when the news started hitting the web today. As with nearly everyone else in the entire world, Jackson has been a pop culture presence in my life since I was a kid. I can’t say I’ve been a big fan of his music since the Thriller days, but Michael was such a singular entity that liking his music has always been but a fragment of what it means to engage with his globe-conquering celebrity.

Within minutes of the news breaking my rss reader immediately became clogged with bloggers offering up their favorite mp3s and videos. It’s a natural inclination, sure. But perhaps because I’m here at the museum, I felt the urge to pay tribute in another way: I left my office, ascended the BCAM escalator, and went to Jeff Koons’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

Suddenly the sculpture took on a whole new meaning. I felt like I was standing before a gravestone. I wished I had flowers I could set down. A handful of others were in the gallery passing by the sculpture and I stopped them—“hey, did you hear?” I asked. They hadn’t, so I broke the news, which seemed to make them linger next the artwork in a way they weren’t about to otherwise.

Koons’s sculpture has all of a sudden become a kind of monument. It’s still a funny work of art, but as of today, a little less funny. Michael, outfitted in a suit of gold, reclines on a bed of golden flowers holding his golden monkey. It encapsulates everything I feel about the star—it’s garish, ridiculous, frankly a little creepy and hilarious, and fun. If Michael were only an artist—if his music were his only legacy—then Koons’s sculpture wouldn’t resonate anew. But Michael was so much more: a global phenomenon, possibly the first modern tabloid trainwreck, and untouchable pop culture royalty. What king doesn’t have his monument in gold? I stood in front of Koons’s sculpture for five or ten minutes, considering Jackson’s legacy in a way that simply playing an album can’t really evoke.

Scott Tennent

(P.S. One more oddity—this is the second time today that art at LACMA has been linked with a celebrity death.)

Acquired Yesterday: Our Lady of Guadalupe

June 25, 2009

Manuel Arellano, Mexico, Virgin of Guadalupe (La Virgen de Guadalupe), signed and dated 1691, purchased with funds from the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund

Who isn’t familiar with the iconic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe? She is without question one of the most revered and reproduced images of the Christian world.

According to tradition, in 1531 the Virgin appeared to the Indian Juan Diego on three different occasions, asking him to visit Bishop Juan de Zumárraga so he could build her a chapel at the hill of Tepeyac, north of Mexico City.

At first, the bishop refused to believe Juan Diego, but when he unfolded his cloak filled with the rare flowers that the Virgin had sent as proof, and revealed her miraculously imprinted image on Juan Diego’s tunic, the bishop fell to his knees and begged the Virgin for forgiveness. According to tradition the image imprinted on the Indian’s cloak is the same icon still venerated today at the Basílica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which continues to attract millions of pilgrims each year.


Acquiring a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been one of my priorities for many years, but I was waiting for just the right one. When I located this painting signed and dated by Manuel Arellano in 1691 (one of the most important artists of the seventeenth century in Mexico), I was thrilled. A few days later, after the painting arrived at LACMA, I was able to decode the barely legible inscription above his signature, which reads: Tocada al original (after the original).


This made the acquisition doubly exciting, as it means that Arellano based his depiction on the original image of the Virgin. Images that were closer to the original were believed to be more miraculous and were therefore more valued. The painting must have been commissioned by someone who was in need of a miracle-making image. That this image of Guadalupe made its way to LACMA almost four centuries after it was created is just short of being a small miracle itself.

Ilona Katzew, Curator of Latin American Art

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