This Weekend at LACMA: Last Chance for Olmec, Roundtable Discussion, New Film Series, and More

This weekend is your last chance to see Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico—the exhibition closes on Sunday. The exhibition has been wrapped up in an ongoing debate about Olmec ancestry—are the ancient civilization’s origins tied to Africa? In response to this dialogue, we are holding a free roundtable discussion on Sunday afternoon on this topic. Exhibition curator Virginia Fields will be joined by scholars from CSU Pomona, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Latin American Institute at UCLA, each exploring the various viewpoints surrounding Olmec origins.



Tonight (Friday) our Art Rental and Sales Gallery, located on the lower level of the Bing Center, is hosting an opening reception for its winter exhibition, featuring works for sale (or rental, if you’re a member) by artists Yvette Gellis and Sean Finegan.


Just upstairs from the ARSG, we’re kicking off a new film series tonight: True Grit: The Golden Age of Road Movies. Over the course of its run in January, the series will feature a number of special guests appearing in person. That begins tonight with actress Karen Black introducing the classic Five Easy Pieces, Jack Nicholson’s first starring vehicle following his memorable supporting turn in Easy Rider a year earlier. Both Nicholson and Black were nominated for Oscars for their work in this film, which was also nominated for Best Picture.



The night’s second feature will be 1972’s Play It As It Lays, featuring a script by Joan Didion based on her own best-selling novel. The True Grit series continues on Saturday night with Easy Rider—just $5!—and Zabriskie Point, Michelangelo Antonioni’s follow-up to Blow Up and the only film he shot in the U.S. 


This Saturday we’re excited to open our completely reinstalled galleries for art from the ancient world—Greece and Rome, Egypt, and the ancient Near East. We’ve also just finished reinstalling more of our European art collection, including fifty works of silver and gold, Italian mosaics, and gold boxes on long-term loan from the Gilbert Collection. Expect more on both of these gallery installations on Unframed next week. On the special exhibition front, in addition to Olmec closing this weekend, the William Eggleston and Blinky Palermo exhibitions are also nearing the end of their run—both close next weekend.


Graphic designers and photographers, or lovers of those art forms, will not want to miss the free documentary screening on Saturday afternoon, The Visual Language of Herbert Matter, about the influential designer and friend to Jackson Pollock, Charles and Ray Eames, and others. The documentary’s director, Reto Caduff, will be on hand to discuss the film.



Sunday at the museum is packed with events for people of all ages and interests. All month long our ongoing free Andell Family Sundays are dedicated to the art and poetry of India, in conjunction with India’s Fabled City. Bring your kids down for free art-making activities and learn about textiles, jewelry, and paintings from India. If you’re here with your kids in the afternoon, drop in on the museum store right outside the Boone Children’s Gallery for author Alex Beard’s reading of Monkey See, Monkey Draw—a repeat performance from the author since his last time at LACMA was such a hit with the little ones.


In addition to the Olmec roundtable discussion, we’re also presenting a lecture on gold and silver in Korean art, given by Dr. Choi EungChon from Dongguk University in Seoul. Take a stroll through our Korean galleries before or after the free lecture and pay special attention to the Buddhist sutra paintings on view.


Finally, the weekend concludes with our weekly Sundays Live concert—free!—where the Lyris Quartet returns to LACMA to perform works by Shostakovich and Brahms.  


Scott Tennent

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