This Weekend at LACMA: Fútbol: The Beautiful Game Opens, Under the Mexican Sky Closes, Free Workshops, and More!

January 31, 2014

Pass on the big game this weekend in favor of the world’s game. Opening to the public on Sunday, February 2, Fútbol: The Beautiful Game explores the sport, players, and spectators involved in the international obsession that is soccer. Represented through paint, sculpture, photography, and video works, the exhibition touches on issues of nationalism, globalism, and mass spectacle. Members have free, early access to Fútbol on Friday and Saturday. For more feats of synchronized athleticism see David Hockney: The Jugglers, a video artwork showing a procession of jugglers (accompanied by John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”) through the lenses of eighteen fixed cameras on a multiscreen grid. The Jugglers opens on Saturday, February 1, in the Resnick Pavilion.

Kehinde Wiley, Samuel Eto'o, 2010, Roberts & Tilton Gallery, © Kehinde Wiley, Image courtesy of Kehinde Wiley, and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California.

Kehinde Wiley, Samuel Eto’o, 2010, Roberts & Tilton Gallery, © Kehinde Wiley, Image courtesy of Kehinde Wiley, and Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California

Nearby, Monterey Park residents and neighbors score big this weekend at the LACMA9 Monterey Park Art+Film Lab at East Los Angeles College. On Friday take part in Oral History Drop-ins in the early afternoon, see the LACMA9 Shorts Program at 7 pm on the big screen, and join in on the free Composition Workshop on Saturday at noon. This is the second to last week of free programming in Monterey Park before the Art+Film Lab heads to Hacienda Heights on February 21.

Gabriel Figueroa, film still from Una cita de amor, directed by Emilio "El Indio" Fernández, 1956, © Gabriel Figueroa Flores Archive

Gabriel Figueroa, film still from Una cita de amor, directed by Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, 1956, © Gabriel Figueroa Flores Archive

Back on campus, the clock winds down on Under the Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film, which closes this Sunday. Figueroa was among the most important cinematographers of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, and his distinctive and vivid visual style crossed genre lines as well as country borders. For more art and cinema check out Masterworks for Expressionist Cinema: The Golem and Its Avatars and learn about the mythical figure from Jewish folklore. Lastly, take a timeout to enjoy Andell Family Sundays beginning at 12:30 pm (this month investigating memories and storytelling as seen in Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa) and Sundays Live with the Jolivet Trio at 6 pm in the Bing Theater. Now take the ball and run.

Roberto Ayala


2014: The Year of the Horse

January 30, 2014

Chinese New Year begins tomorrow, January 31, 2014. To celebrate, we will talk about several pieces from LACMA’s permanent collection of Chinese art that feature the auspicious horse, which is this year’s zodiac. For thousands of years, equines have been one of the most popular animals depicted in Chinese art, and the following examples only provide a glimpse into the rich historical and symbolic significance of horses.

In the early history, it appears that the horse was considered a close kin of dragons. Equipped with imaginary powers, horses would carry the soul to an imagined land after death. An Eastern Han dynasty horse, probably excavated from a tomb in the Sichuan province, displays such a celestial quality. Its left front leg is about to move forward, with the hoof barely touching the ground. Its tail flies upward, rendering the solid body a sense of elevation, as if the horse was dancing or flying. In fact, flying horses are often found in Han dynasty tombs, remarking on the belief its ability to carry the soul to the afterlife realm.

Funerary Sculpture of a Horse China, Sichuan Province, Eastern Han dynasty, 25-220 Molded earthenware with modeled and carved decoration Gift of Diane and Harold Keith and Jeffrey Lowden (AC1997.137.1)

China, Sichuan Province, Eastern Han dynasty, Funerary Sculpture of a Horse, A.D. 25–220, gift of Diane and Harold Keith and Jeffrey Lowden

The animal was also a military necessity. The strength of a cavalry was important to defend kingdoms and empires from the threat from northern and Central Asian nomads. Essential to securing territorial integrity and maintaining sovereign independence, it is natural that horse was soon connected symbolically with power. By the Tang dynasty, the horse’s symbolism as an imperial power became even more pronounced.

Funerary Sculpture of a Horse China, Middle Tang dynasty, about 700-800 Molded earthenware with molded, applied, and incised decoration and polychrome (sancai) glaze Gift of Nasli M. Heeramaneck (M.73.48.79)

China, Middle Tang dynasty, Funerary Sculpture of a Horse, about 700–800, gift of Nasli M. Heeramaneck

China, Tang dynasty, , Funerary Sculpture of a Horse and Rider, 618–906, the Phil Berg Collection

China, Tang dynasty, , Funerary Sculpture of a Horse and Rider, 618–906, the Phil Berg Collection

In addition to the tribute horses brought to the Tang capital by the neighboring states, it is said the imperial court had a herd of over 700,000 horses. The sancai (three-colored glaze, brown, green, and cream) horse in the LACMA collection was found in a Tang dynasty tomb. It has a saddle on top of a coverlet. Its crupper and breastplate are decorated with tassels. So is the bridle piece, demonstrating the status of the tomb owner. Its tail is also carefully braided, showing its military or ceremonial function. Equestrian and polo became popular sports in the Tang dynasty, played by both men and women, displaying the wealth and status of the riders.

Square Dish (Die) with Figure on Horse China, Chinese, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, 1662-1722 Black lacquer on wood core with shell and gold leaf inlay Gift of Miss Bella Mabury (M.39.2.569.1)

China, Chinese, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, Square Dish (Die) with Figure on Horse, 1662–1722, gift of Miss Bella Mabury

For the Chinese scholars educated in the Confucian classics, the characteristic of horses were equated with one’s virtue and ability, as recognized in the story of Bole, a man with extraordinary understanding of equines. Without Bole’s recognition of its talents, a horse will only pull a cart in the market. Similarly, a Confucian scholar’s refinement and virtue need to be discovered and employed by a benevolent and enlightened ruler.

By the Ming and Qing dynasties, the horse appeared less frequently as an independent art genre. Instead, it subsided to the role of mounters in the depiction of popular fictions and dramas, such as the lacquer square dish carefully inlayed with shell and gold leaf, where an official riding a horse is about to enter the city gate. A repeating form, however, is a monkey riding on the back of a horse, a visual rebus meaning “immediate advancement in officialdom,” an auspicious wish for scholars with ambitions.

Buckle in the Form of a Monkey on a Horse China, late Qing dynasty, about 1800-1911 Abraded jade Gift of Patricia G. Cohan (M.2001.179.43)

China, late Qing dynasty, Buckle in the Form of a Monkey on a Horse, about 1800–1911, gift of Patricia G. Cohan

In the 20th century, the most celebrated horse painter is no doubt Xu Beihong. Trained in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Paris, Xu’s galloping horses combine the free and unrestrained expressions he was exposed in France and the traditional Chinese art of the brush and ink. The horses, always in vigorous sprinting gestures, embody a powerful political message: the noble and heroic spirit of China during the turbulent years of Sino-Japanese war.

horse

Private collection, © Chen Art Gallery

In the popular culture of the Chinese zodiac system, each 12-year cycle is associated with a particular animal. For more than 2,000 years, people have believed that the attributes of each animal is reflected in those born in the corresponding year, affecting his or her personality and future. The horse is praised for its energy, strength, and intelligence, and cautioned against impatience and stubbornness.

Happy the Year of the Horse!

Christina Yu Yu, Assistant Curator, Chinese Art


Contemporary Friends Acquire Ten New Works by Artists from around the World

January 28, 2014

Contemporary Friends started in 2013 with a goal of acquiring contemporary works of art that complement LACMA’s collections of objects that span the globe. To this end, this year’s ten acquisitions fit the bill in their diversity in not only media, but also in the parts of the world represented. Now in its second year, chaired and led by LACMA trustee Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, Contemporary Friends recently made nine important acquisitions by artists new to LACMA’s collection.

Agus Suwage, Social Mirrors, 2013, purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013

Agus Suwage, Social Mirrors, 2013, purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013

The first work by Agus Suwage to enter the collection of an American museum, Social Mirrors, from 2013, features a small figure of the artist dressed in traditional prayer attire facing a brass cornet. The sound, emitted from a car-audio system embedded into the pedestal,  is assumed to come out of the bell of the cornet. The Suwage figure appears to have its hands behind its ears, in a posture of a muezzin, an individual who leads the call to prayer at a mosque.

Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue, 2013, purchased with funds provided by Sue Tsao through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue, 2013, purchased with funds provided by Sue Tsao through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Also entering the collection is Grosse Fatigue, the Silver Lion winner at the 2013 Venice Biennale, by French artist Camille Henrot. The work takes up the history of the world as its subject, featuring a narrative that is co-written by the poet Jacob Bromberg and set to hip-hop beats by Joakim Bouaziz. Henrot attempts a feat with Grosse Fatigue—she aims to tell the story of the creation of the universe.

Amy Sillman Untitled (Purple Bottle),  2013 Oil on canvas 52 x 49 in.  Purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013

Amy Sillman, Untitled (Purple Bottle), 2013, purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013

Maaike Schoorel Ian met turban (Ian with turban), 2011 Oil on canvas 13.75 x 15.75 in.  Purchased with funds provided by Emily and Teddy Greenspan through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Maaike Schoorel, Ian met turban (Ian with turban), 2011,
purchased with funds provided by Emily and Teddy Greenspan through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Two paintings, one by Amy Sillman and another by Maaike Schoorel, explore different strategies in composition and subject. Amy Sillman’s work, Untitled (Purple Bottle), challenges the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, while demonstrating her skills as a formidable colorist. The canvas is comprised of various ambiguous forms and lines rendered in bold and pastel colors—pinks, greens, purples, and grays. There are gestures toward representation: the handle of the “Purple Bottle,” for instance, is implied by the green handle, but lines around it disrupt the figurative. Schoorel’s work, Ian met turban (Ian with turban), initially appears all black, but, upon closer observation, a figure—that of a head—reveals itself. The viewer is required to invest time and to focus in order to see the form in the otherwise minimalist canvas.

Edgardo Aragón La Trampa, 2011 3 channel video  Installation,  9 minutes Purchased with funds provided by Jeanne Williams and Jason Greenman through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Edgardo Aragón, La Trampa, 2011, purchased with funds provided by Jeanne Williams and Jason Greenman through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Edgardo Aragón’s La Trampa tells the story of an Oaxacan village and looks at the landscape of this Mexican state for inspiration. Mohamed Bourouissa’s Temps Mort records a yearlong dialogue between the artist and a friend who was incarcerated for a minor offense. The video installation features mobile-phone recordings made by his friend. These two acquisitions, along with Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue,  not only add to the depth of our holdings of video and time-based media, but also complement LACMA’s Art+Film initiative, which aims to present the moving image in the context of an art museum.

Choi Jeonghwa Flower, Flower, 2008 Two works Inflatable soft Sculpture 108 in diameter x 51 in high each Purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013

Choi Jeonghwa, Flower, Flower, 2008, purchased with funds provided by Contemporary Friends, 2013 

LACMA has been able to build its collection of contemporary Korean art thanks in part to generous support by AmorePacific. This year, Contemporary Friends was able to add Choi Jeonghwa’s Flower, Flower, two objects made both for indoor and outdoor environs. Known for his playful use of existing objects, Choi’s work adds to the holdings of Korean art that span the Three Kingdoms, Goryeo, and the Joseon periods and also complement contemporary works by Korean artists such as Haegue Yang, Lee Bul, Yeesookyung, and Do Ho Suh.

Kemang Wa Lehulere 5 Figures and Three Bottles (Even if I Bleed2), 2011 Mixed media collage .1) 14 1/2 × 22 1/2 in. (36.83 × 57.15 cm) .2) 12 × 15 1/2 in. (30.48 × 39.37 cm) Purchased with funds provided by Wyatt and Marlowe Kline, and Jay and John Lassiter through Contemporary Friends, 2013

Kemang Wa Lehulere, Five Figures and Three Bottles (Even if I Bleed2), 2011, purchased with funds provided by Wyatt and Marlowe Kline, and Jay and John Lassiter through Contemporary Friends, 2013

The young artist Kemang Wa Lehulere’s 5 Figures and Three Bottles (Even if I Bleed 2) combines two drawings with collage into one singular piece. The first drawing, at top, features a white figure that appears to be rendered in a form of a bottle. Adjacent to that figure are black-and-white layers featuring mesh-like patterns, crude scribbles, and watercolor gestures. In the second half of the piece (the bottom), a black figure, seemingly in the guise of an angel, tilts his head above, looking over a black and a white form. The push-and-pull of the forms exemplifies Lehulere’s strategies in his work, which encourages the viewer to make multiple, differing interpretations as it attempts to reconcile the past and present in South Africa.

Rashid Johnson Four for the Talking Cure,  2009/2012 Mixed media sculpture Installation 97 x 84.5 x 84.5 in. Purchased with funds provided Contemporary Friends, Holly and Albert Baril, Allison and Larry Berg, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell and Will Ferrell, Linda and Paul Gotskind, Jennifer Hawks and Ramin Djawadi, Laura and James Maslon, Phil Mercado and Todd Quinn, Candace and Charles Nelson, and the Kerry and Simone Vickar Foundation, 2013

Rashid Johnson, Four for the Talking Cure, 2009–12, purchased with funds provided Contemporary Friends, Holly and Albert Baril, Allison and Larry Berg, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell and Will Ferrell, Linda and Paul Gotskind, Jennifer Hawks and Ramin Djawadi, Laura and James Maslon, Phil Mercado and Todd Quinn, Candace and Charles Nelson, and the Kerry and Simone Vickar Foundation, 2013

Rashid Johnson’s Four for the Talking Cure comes from the artist’s first solo exhibition in London, where he presented an entirely distinct body of work. The piece is inspired by an imaginary space offering free psychotherapy, and challenges conventional notions of the art object and our shared cultural experiences. In using materials such as zebra skin, shea butter, and metal in Four for the Talking Cure, Johnson alludes to materials that are connected to a cultural past.

These acquisitions of work by nine artists new to LACMA’s collection reflect Contemporary Friends’ advocacy of art that spans geography, media, and cultures. The works not only reflect the encyclopedic nature of the museum, but also the commitment of our patrons to the dialogue of contemporary art. Through active engagement and vigorous dialogue, members of Contemporary Friends have added pieces that enrich Los Angeles’s holdings of art from around the world.

Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head of Contemporary Art


Navigate Your Visit with LACMA’s New App

January 27, 2014

As an encyclopedic art museum, we have an astonishing array of art from around the world on view at any given time, and the must-see list changes as we rearrange the selection in our galleries. So how cool would it be if you could receive an alert letting you know what’s nearby as you make your way around the museum?

Now you can, if you use the most recent version of our app for iPhone. We’ve added contextual awareness – that’s tech-speak for messages specific to your exact location. For example, pass through the second floor of the Ahmanson Building, and you might see this:

IMG_0121

And it might let you know about great works of art nearby, like this one:

A screenshot of the alert you'd see around the Ahmanson Building

The app will also let you know when you near a special exhibition for which we have a free tour included in the mobile app. For example, right now, the See the Light exhibition includes a free tour featuring interviews with LACMA curator Britt Salvesen, as well as scientists, psychologists, and friends and family of the collectors.

IMG_1937

Tour See the Light

In the coming months, we plan to roll out alerts across campus, making it a little bit easier to wander the galleries and find out what’s on view today.

Enjoy!

Amy Heibel, Vice President of Technology and Digital Media


This Weekend at LACMA: Monterey Park Art+Film Lab Week Three, Kaz Oshiro: Chasing Ghosts Opens, Free General Admission on Saturday, and More!

January 24, 2014

The stars align this weekend at LACMA. Beginning at the third weekend of the LACMA9 Monterey Park Art+Film Lab at East Los Angeles College contribute to a bank of stories about your neighborhood during Oral History Drop-ins on Friday from 3 to 5:30 pm (and then again on Sunday, 12:30–4 pm) and later in the evening see Up at 7 pm. Saturday at the lab join the Mini Docs Workshop at noon to learn the ins and outs of creating a compelling, real-life narrative on film. All events at the Art+Film Lab are free and open to the public.

LACMA9 Art+Film Lab photos © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Duncan Cheng

Jorge Pardo Sculpture, LACMA9 Art+Film Lab photos © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Duncan Cheng

Elsewhere off campus, you’re invited to the opening night reception of Kaz Oshiro: Chasing Ghosts, the latest installment at LACMA’s satellite gallery at Charles White Elementary School, on Friday from 6 to 8 pm. Known for his painted sculptures of household objects, Oshiro’s work blurs distinctions between media. Also on view in the exhibition is a collaborative project by Oshiro and students and a selection of works from LACMA’s collection, including pieces by John Altoon and Sam Francis. It all comes together with complimentary food and drink while DJ and composer Elan Polushko spins a curated selection of vinyl inspired by the show.

Saturday is another Free Day at LACMA, part of Museums Free-For-All. With free general admission visitors can see exhibitions like the expansive Under the Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa—Art and Film, the hard edges of Four Abstract Classicists, and over 200 photographs in See the Light—Photography, Perception, Cognition: The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection. In the afternoon, sit in on conversation with Marc Levoy, professor at Stanford University, in What Google Glass Means for the Future of Photography starting at 2 pm in the Bing Theater.

Frederick Hammersley, Around a round, 1959, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, bequest of Fannie and Alan Leslie, © Frederick Hammersley Foundation

Frederick Hammersley, Around a round, 1959, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, bequest of Fannie and Alan Leslie, © Frederick Hammersley Foundation

Complete the weekend with Andell Family Sundays at 12:30 pm on Sunday, A Conversation about Muslim Cultures Today at 1 pm with Dr. Amyn B. Sajoo of Simon Fraser University, and Sundays Live at 6 pm, featuring a special chamber ensemble of talented students from the Elizabeth Mandell Institute.

Roberto Ayala


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