Anthony Lepore Takes a Walk Inspired by Robert Adams

April 12, 2012

Anthony Lepore is the most recent contributor to our Artists Respond series – artists creating web-based projects inspired by exhibitions on view at LACMA. Lepore chose Robert Adams: The Place We Live as his jumping-off point.

For his project, Night Walk, Lepore designed a map-based interface, populated with nighttime photos he took during walks in his Pasadena neighborhood.

Night Walk. © Anthony Lepore, All Rights Reserved.

LEPORE: The map image is a Google Earth image of the area where I live, in Pasadena. I wanted viewers to see the geographical relationship between the San Gabriel Mountains and the flats of suburban Pasadena.

From the map, you can select and view photographs Lepore made during evening walks around his neighborhood with his dog.

Mount Wilson Road and Eaton Saddle. © Anthony Lepore, All Rights Reserved.

LEPORE: This is taken from Mount Lowe. It’s the highest mountain that you can easily climb to in the front range of the Angeles National Forest.  We take friends here for our “Wow, LA isn’t what you expect” hike. The entire city sparkles beneath you.  There’s a strange relationship between the quiet darkness of the mountains and the sea of electricity below.

A project by Robert Adams called Summer Nights informed Lepore’s approach.

LEPORE: Adams was making photographs on his summer evening walks around the Denver area. I love his nighttime photographs–there is something strange and extraterrestrial about this body of work.  Adams hovers like a visitor around the edges of his city peering into lit windows and empty streets.  The hot desert sun has been replaced by streetlamps and rolling carnival lights.

Adams is one of my favorite photographers, but when I first came across his work in college I found it a little boring.  It took some time, and discovering Adam’s book Los Angeles Spring, for me to really connect with his photographs.  They are quiet, precise, never wasteful and deeply human. They document an unsteady changing line between the wild and suburbia, carrying the echo of both a sunny hymn and a eulogy.

E. Washington Blvd. and N. Harding Ave. © Anthony Lepore, All Rights Reserved.

LEPORE: Recently, Pasadena was hit by a crazy windstorm.  It was like a mad fever dream all night, like being on a small boat.  Since then I’ve been gathering debris from the windstorm and making impromptu still lifes, like the picture of the daisy bush coming through the blinds. I found these blinds in the street – they had been blown off a house. The lighting comes from a security lamp on someone’s front lawn. I was excited to create something on my walks, using the evening darkness like a black studio backdrop.

Lepore says that growing up in Burbank, his own relationship to nature had been somewhat mediated. Through photography, he started to explore the landscape of Southern California.

LEPORE: My mom worked for Disney for most of my childhood, and we visited Disneyland often. I loved the way the shiny and molded landscapes tried so earnestly to recreate the wilderness.  While some kids were hiking through the Sierras, I was zooming through the Matterhorn and rolling along the rivers of Splash Mountain.

Exploring the ways we recreate nature points to both our separation from it, and our deep need to be part of it.  Nature exists for us in the way we mold it and the way we see it.

E. Washington Blvd. and Belford Ave. © Anthony Lepore, All Rights Reserved.

More about Anthony Lepore.

Amy Heibel


August 24, 2011

While leaving work last week, I stumbled upon the Messiah himself enjoying the sunset on LACMA’s campus.  Strategically placed (he seemed to possess a keen self-awareness) within the illuminated street lights of Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation, Jesus stood waiting, as if informed by some divine foresight that a passing photographer would soon ask, “Hey Jesus, can I take your picture?”

After snapping a shot with my camera phone [insert corporate sponsorship here], the Holy One asked to see the photo and exclaimed simply, “Sweet.”  Clearly he was impressed.

Jesus in front of Urban Light

Jesus with Urban Light

Once my feelings of “OMG, I just took a pic w/ Jesus, LOLZ ROTFL” subsided, I realized that the composition of the photo bore an uncanny resemblance to John Baldessari’s iconic work, Wrong, lauded for its “improper” positioning of a man directly beneath a towering palm tree.

John Baldessari, Wrong, 1966-1968, Painting, photoemulsion with acrylic on canvas, 59 x 45 in. Contemporary Art Council (M.71.40)

John Baldessari, Wrong, 1966-1968, Painting, photoemulsion with acrylic on canvas, 59 x 45 in. Contemporary Art Council (M.71.40)

Justin Edwards


More Burton-Inspired Pics from the Public

August 1, 2011

Attendance to our Tim Burton exhibition is going strong two months into its five month run. One of the best things about the exhibition is how our visitors continue to interact with it online. We invited visitors to post their own Burton-esque images to our flickr group to see things that seem to have taken inspiration from Burton’s aesthetic. We love to see this multimedia feed grow with an assortment of beautiful, mysterious, playful, gothic, colorful, and dark images.

Steel branches from alexcap1101

Steel branches

Check out the Flickr group here.

sonicshadowlover13 submitted this image of her Jack Skellington-inspired outfit, complete with skeleton gloves and choker.

shaunsaumell submitted several images of a beautiful, surreal landscape that look right out of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

tagletwitch created an amazing sculpture  from what looks like recycled wires.

Some contributors have drawn their own dark, Burton-esque creatures like taylorwchristensen’s Stick Boy and Match Girl and mouse25’s My Pretty.

Scroll through all of the submissions for more sketches, costumes, house decor, hairstyles, tattoos, and some inspiration from nature.

Submit your Burton-esque images here.

Alex Capriotti

Changing Perspective on Photography

April 13, 2011

If you wander through the current exhibition Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection,  you will find photography, video, and installation work in amongst the usual suspects—painting, drawing and sculpture.

Hannah Wilke, S.O.S. Starification Object Series (guns), 1974 Purchased with funds provided by the Judith Rothschild Foundation, the Modern and Contemporary Art Council, and the Ralph M. Parsons Discretionary Fund

That wasn’t the case so long ago, when photography, as a practice or when displayed, was considered in terms that separated it from the rest of the contemporary dialogue. Then Cindy Sherman and a few others happened.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1980, The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

Now we have photo imagery everywhere and, I hope, a greater appreciation for the medium—though one could make a case for oversaturation—and its challenges. In fact, a lot of artists using photography (see Baldessari) are creating work that retells photo history or plays off those very elements that initially entranced, namely the depiction of the real.

Yinka Shonibare, Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 21.00 Hours, from the Diary of a Victorian Dandy Series, 1998 Purchased with funds provided by the Modern and Contemporary Art Acquisition Fund and the Ralph M. Parsons Fund

No longer are we able to look at photographic imagery and have an expectation of truth, and there is an understanding that a photographer “makes” his/her images rather than “takes.”

Nikki Lee, The Hispanic Project (25), 1998 Ralph M. Parsons Fund

With photography incorporated into the larger picture of modern art history, a different story of influences, themes, and concepts emerges.

Eve Schillo

High School Football at LACMA

July 27, 2010

While she was here installing Figure and Landscape, Catherine Opie took a break to tell us about her experience photographing high school football players over the course of the past three years. She traveled the country, working with coaches and players to create dozens of images of young men on the field or looking directly into the camera during their moment one-on-one with the artist. The result is a complex depiction of masculine identity and the American landscape.

Here’s the video:

Amy Heibel

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