This Weekend at LACMA: Ed Ruscha and Expressionist Film Exhibitions Open, The Clock 24-Hour Screening, and More

September 21, 2012

Saturday starting at noon we once again present a free 24-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, which earlier this week was declared by ArtInfo as the most iconic artwork of the last five years. The screening in the Bing is free and is first come, first served. The hours leading up to midnight in particular tend to fill up so, plan accordingly. Check here for special hours for Ray’s, Stark Bar, C+M, and other food options. (And be sure to stop by our neighbors, For Your Art, for their 24 Hour Donut City!)

Christian Marclay, stills from The Clock, purchased with funds provided by Steve Tisch through the 2011 Collectors Committee, The Clock © Christian Marclay, courtesy White Cube, London, and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, photo: Todd-White Art Photography

Saturday is a big day for LACMA not only because of The Clock: we’re also opening two great exhibitions. Continue your art/film experience with Masterworks of Expressionist Cinema: Caligari and Metropolis, which draws connections between LACMA’s renowned collection of German Expressionist art and the masterful silent films Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) and Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang). The exhibition includes projected sequences from the films, vintage posters, and Expressionist prints from LACMA’s collection.

Unknown German artist, Set photograph from the film Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The cabinet of Dr. Caligari), the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies

Also opening, as noted yesterday on Unframed, is Ed Ruscha: Standard. The exhibition gathers nearly 100 works including prints, paintings, and video—still just scratching the surface of artworks by Ruscha in our permanent collection! While you’re here be sure to check out our other exhibition on a legendary Southern California artist, Ken Price. His exhibition, which opened just last week, is not to be missed.

Ed Ruscha, Actual Size, 1962, anonymous gift through the Contemporary Art Council, © 2012 Edward J. Ruscha IV. All rights reserved. Photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Take a break from The Clock at 5pm and head down one floor below the Bing Theater, where we’ll be celebrating the opening of the newest Art Rental & Sales Gallery exhibition, featuring artists Ching Ching Cheng, Taryn Möller Nicoll, and Marina Pinsky.

Ching Ching Cheng, F430, 2012

Sunday would have been artist Tony Smith’s 100th birthday. Celebrate it by checking out Smoke in the Ahmanson Building (you can’t miss it!), then take part in free Andell Family Sunday art-making activities inspired by the sculpture.

Tony Smith, Smoke, 1967, fabricated 2005, made possible by the Belldegrun Family’s gift to LACMA in honor of Rebecka Belldegrun’s birthday, © Artists Rights Society (ARS)

As usual the weekend begins and ends with free concerts. Tonight, saxophonist Louis Van Taylor hits the stage for tonight’s Jazz at LACMA. On Sunday night, pianist James Boyk will perform pieces by Haydn, Mozart, and others during Sundays Live.

Scott Tennent

Ed Ruscha and the Standard Gas Station

September 20, 2012

“It has to be called an icon; that’s the main thing about that painting…It became a motif for me to explore in other ways, too. I saw it as a loaf of bread; I saw it as several other things.”—Ed Ruscha on the painting Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963) in 1981.

In the early twentieth century, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was the largest company in the world, selling more than half the petroleum products in the United States. In 1911 the federal government broke it up into seven “Baby Standards,” one of largest of which was Standard Oil of Southern California. The reach of this Baby Standard stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Texas, and it retained the Standard brand name until 1984, when it officially became Chevron. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Ed Ruscha frequently drove Route 66 from Los Angeles to his family home in Oklahoma City, Standard Stations were commonplace. This ubiquity led to the inclusion of a Standard gas station in Ruscha’s groundbreaking photographic book Twentysix Gasoline Stations in 1963. He subsequently depicted the edifice in several paintings (alone, with a dime store magazine, and engulfed in flames) and five prints spanning from 1966 to 2011. LACMA is fortunate enough to be able to show these prints in the exhibition Ed Ruscha: Standard, which opens in the Broad Contemporary Art Museum to members today and to the public on Saturday.

Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, 1966, Museum Acquisition Fund, © 2012 Ed Ruscha. All rights reserved, photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

The allure of the Standard Station for Ruscha is both its subject and its form. The world of trademarks that can be seen from the car is one of his signature artistic subjects. When Ruscha was included in the seminal 1962 Pop Art exhibition The New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum, he had already declared his interest in elevating the mundane and the overlooked, an approach he maintains today. Although the source photograph from Twentysix Gasoline Stations is documentary in style, Ruscha’s prints of the station transform it into something more than a place to fill your car’s tank. In Standard Station (1966) the cantilevered roof, surmounted by the brand name, projects decisively from the lower right to the upper left of the sheet, slicing diagonally across the lurid, smoggy sunset in the background.

Ed Ruscha, Mocha Standard, 1969, gift of The Jane & Marc Nathanson Family Foundation, © 2012 Ed Ruscha. All rights reserved, photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

This thrust is similarly present in three of the other Standard prints, and is crossed by a second sign going the other direction in the print Double Standard. Although the composition of the first Standard Station is consistent throughout the prints, Ruscha altered the iterations. Mocha Standard (1969) exchanges the bright primary colors of first one for tones of brown as though the sunset has been overtaken by a toxic, smoky twilight. In Cheese Mold Standard with Olive (also 1969), foodstuffs provide a greenish chromatic note.

Ed Ruscha, Cheese Mold Standard with Olive, 1969, gift of The Jane & Marc Nathanson Family Foundation, © 2012 Ed Ruscha. All rights reserved, photo © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA

Ruscha’s most recent iteration of the Standard Station motif, Ghost Station (2011), omits color entirely, leaving the subtle shadows of the embossed paper to demarcate the now-familiar image. Like all good icons, the Standard Station is both constant and mutable and has remained a touchstone for Ruscha for nearly fifty years.

Sienna Brown, Wallis Annenberg Curatorial Fellow, Prints and Drawings Department

Curator Britt Salvesen on The Sun and Other Stars

September 19, 2012

Recently, we spoke with curator Britt Salvesen about The Sun and Other Stars: Katy Grannan and Charlie White, on view through September 14th. Britt worked directly with the artists, bringing together their respective bodies of work, which explore portraiture and celebrity via distinctive sensibilities and points of view. Britt also drew a connection to Young, a current installation of photography of children, on view through December 2nd, and observed that both shows raise questions about the ubiquity of images, particularly images of youthful subjects in today’s omni-present media and social media culture.

Amy Heibel

Artists Respond / Fredrik Nilsen on Ken Price

September 16, 2012

Fredrik Nilsen is the latest contributor to our Artists Respond series of web-based project inspired by an exhibition at LACMA. Nilsen made all of the exquisite photographs in the publication associated with the Ken Price exhibition that just opened this weekend; for Artists Respond, Nilsen shares his own artistic practice, pairing some of his own work with selected works by Price in an online gallery that he describes here:

In early 2011, I began photographing Ken Price’s work for the catalog of his 2012 retrospective at LACMA. I was honored to be involved from the beginning of the project and spent the balance of the year traveling and shooting works by this extraordinarily inspiring artist. I spent hours looking intensely at his objects, studying them and choosing the angles and lighting that would best represent the works, to tell their story.

The experience culminated in a trip to Taos to work with Kenny and his amazing family. Working side by side with the man in his studio, photographing his work space and the gardens and the landscape surrounding his home, I gained a deeper understanding of who he is as an artist and as a person. We swapped stories of our passion for surfing, and I learned he was a waterman. I believe that the fluid characteristics of much of his work may have come, in part, from his knowledge of the wave and the nature of water.

Ken Price, Mo, 2000 ©Ken Price, photo © Fredrik Nilsen

In 2008 I began a body of work that I simply refer to as water studies. Each water study consists of two images closely aligned. They depict two watery scenes, shot within moments of each other at either the same camera angle or an offset position. The offsets and re-filtrations by the moving water produce either a very similar or a very dissimilar juxtaposition. In this series I feel an affinity to Ken’s work.

Water Study: Temescal © Fredrik Nilsen

I present here a selection of my photographs of Ken’s sculpture paired with my water studies where I see parallels. Many of these water studies were shot before I began to shoot Ken’s work. As I studied Ken’s artworks it became apparent to me that Ken’s work reflected an interest in natural forms which coincides at certain points with my own study of the nature of water.

Detail, Avocado Mountain, 1959, Ken Price © Ken Price, photo © Fredrik Nilsen

Water Study © Fredrik Nilsen

     — Fredrik Nilsen


Amy Heibel

This Weekend at LACMA: Ken Price Opens, Exclusive Film Club Screening, and More

September 14, 2012

The busy fall season at LACMA officially begins this weekend with the opening of Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective. The exhibitions brings together more than a hundred objects, including works Price finished just a few weeks before his death earlier this year. Exhibition design was done by Frank Gehry, Price’s longtime friend. The show has already gotten a rave review from the Los Angeles Times, which called Price “one of the great American sculptors of the last half-century.” (PS: check out this great photo from the exhibition’s opening this week: a who’s who of L.A. greats turned out to see the exhibition.)

Installation view, “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective,” September 16, 2012–January 6, 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Ken Price, photo © 2012 Fredrik Nilsen

Ken Price Sculpture is on view now for members only, and opens to the general public on Sunday. If you’re not a member yet, now is the time to join. Not only will you get access to Ken Price right away, but you’ll also get exclusive member previews to next week’s Ed Ruscha exhibition and four more major exhibitions this fall alone. Members will also get two free tickets to Stanley Kubrick and two free tickets Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy, both opening in November. Members-only reservations for both shows begin on Wednesday, so now is the time to get in. Those tickets alone are an $80 value, never mind the twelve months of free general admission to the rest of the museum. What are you waiting for? Show your support for LACMA and become a member.

Tonight award-winning saxophonist Kamasi Washington performs for Jazz at LACMA. Washington has performed with jazz greats like Wayne Shorter and Billy Higgins as well as pop stars like Snoop Dog, Mos Def, and Raphael Saadiq.

Tonight we’ve also got a special film screening open exclusively to members of LACMA Film Club, Film Independent, or the New York Times Film Club: the world premiere of Chu Chang-min’s stylized costume drama Masquerade. The film stars Byung-hun Lee, who plays the dual role of a paranoid king and an actor who is forced to replace the ruler. Lee will be in attendance for the screening and will take part in a Q&A following the film. (Not a Film Club member? Join now—you’ll get access to free screenings like this plus priority tickets to popular events like Jason Reitman’s Live Reads and more.)

Spend the rest of the weekend checking out our other exhibitions or going deeper into our collection. Have you been up to the top floor of the Ahmanson Building lately? In the Islamic galleries we’ve just installed a beautiful fountain taken from a a reception room in a Damascus house, circa 1766-67. (More on this fountain on Unframed next week.)

Fountain from a reception room in a Damascus house, Damascus, Syria, room dated 1180 AH/1766–67, Robert Haber and Associates, Inc.

On that floor you’ll also an installation by contemporary Iranian artist Siamak Filizadeh, Rostam 2—The Return. On the western side of the same floor, take a walk through our South and Southeast Asian galleries for a number of smaller installations—Tibetan Thangka Painting and Furniture, Tibetan silver, 17th–19th century paintings and photographs from India depicting women, and experimental films from Alia Syed.

‘Monk’s Hat’ Ewer, Tibet, late 19th century, gift of Julian Sands

If you’re here on Sunday, get inspired by Tony Smith’s Smoke and make geometric art during Andell Family Sundays. Later that evening, the Salastina Music Society will perform works by Shostakovich at our free Sundays Live concert series.

Scott Tennent

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