The Getty Museum at golden hour was Solange Knowles’s chosen backdrop for Bridge-s, a site-specific movement piece where dancers, vocalists, and musicians harmonized with the Knowles’s jazz-inspired composition. The performance artwork was a collaboration between Solange and artists Gerard & Kelly (no strangers to art-architecture confluences), but Knowles was responsible for the entire musical score. It’s title, Counting, echoes of the theme of transience and time throughout the piece, a sharp juxtaposition with the seemingly indestructible architecture of the Richard Meier-designed Getty enveloping it. Opened to the public on November 16, Bridge-s performers held crowds in a trance for the almost hour-long performance. The troupe, all dressed in a golden palette of marigold, brown, and orange, shimmered in the L.A. sunset. Solange described the abstract piece as a meditation on the natural cycles of space and time, held in tension with the human actor that moves, contorts, and changes through body and sound. The environmental context of Bridge-s, the Los Angeles hills and the materiality of the Getty, were as integral to the art piece as the choreography or the notes emanating from the horns, as it was the vessel in which her performance used physicality to interpret this theme. So far Solange has had an excellent track record working with and responding to great architectures. She has staged similar interventions within the fabric of institutions including the Guggenheim and Hammer museums since the release of her critically acclaimed record, Don’t Touch My Hair. Invigorating the movements of her dancers through choreography that responds to the designed spaces that form their context, her ephemeral performances attest to her multi-disciplinary artistic aspirations. She forms new combinations with each project, centered around themes such as the black experience, Western aesthetics, and color theory. Solange's cast for Bridge-s was made up entirely of people of color, a continuation of her commitment to uplifting black artists through her work and collaborations from her earliest stints at video and performance art. The dancers’ movements were cyclic, weaving between gestures of intimacy and connection, but also prone to breaks. Often concentrated in the form of a duo, Gerard & Kelly's choreography demonstrated the cruelty of disassociation—one piece of choreography shows a dancer stepping not over, but purposefully on the prostrate body of another on the ground. Other instances show the dancers moving more like a chorus, uniting as one body to lift up musicians mid-solo, or flowing into a throne to elevate specific movers high into the air. The bodies of her performers created new architectures by themselves as well as using every staircase, aperture, and platform available in the Getty courtyard. Despite being the centerpiece of the Getty’s public program this weekend of speakers, film screenings, and performances, the closing words of Bridge-s were sharply self-conscious, reflecting on the importance as well as the futility of the built environment, and the Getty as host. Performers closed out the piece by robotically repeating a warning: “The house that was built could crumble at any time.”
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In a statement of its dedication to conservation efforts, the J. Paul Getty Trust has announced a $100 million investment to support the preservation of global antiquities. The funding will provide the baseline for Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past, a broader incentive focusing on the scholarship, conservation, and exhibition of increasingly fading antiquities in an age where a number of factors pose a threat to their safety. “In an age of resurgent populism, sectarian violence, and climate change, the future of the world’s common heritage is at risk,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “Cultural heritage embodies a global community united by a common need to make things of beauty and usefulness and to compose stories and rituals about humanity’s place in the world. We will launch with urgency and build momentum for years to come. This work must start now, before more cultural heritage is neglected, damaged, or destroyed. Much is at stake.” The initiative presents a notable expansion beyond the focus areas of ancient Greece and Rome that have remained at the forefront of Getty’s funding until now. A global expansion into new territories like South and Central America, Asia, and Africa will ensure that conservation efforts are as comprehensive as possible. While Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past will take a number of forms during its 10-year timeline, one of the biggest components will be increasing conservation efficiency by utilizing local talent. The program will train local conservators and specialists from around the world to work on-site, eliminating the need for Getty employees to manage individual projects. Additional plans include support for digital mapping of excavations, traveling research seminars, and expanded upcoming exhibitions at Los Angeles's Getty Museum highlighting the ancient classical world. Getty plans to partner with major global cultural and educational institutions as well as government organizations and private sector entities in order to maximize the impact of the project. A cross-disciplinary focus will be enacted through the involvement of Getty’s four programs—The Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. As Getty continues to engage its partnerships, an official program launch is slated for summer 2020; the initiative is expected to last through 2030 and beyond.
Coming soon to the J. Paul Getty Museum is a single-gallery exhibition dedicated to the legacy of the most famous piece of medieval architecture in the world. An Enduring Icon: Notre-Dame Cathedral will be on view starting July 23rd in Los Angeles as a tribute to the French landmark and its global staying power despite the massive fire that ravished its iconic roof. Organized by Anne-Lis Desmas, senior curator of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts department, the showcase will feature paintings, photographs, engravings, and rare books that highlight the history of the 850-year-old cathedral. “The artworks on view in this special installation," said Desmas in a statement, "elucidate the importance of this ‘majestic and sublime edifice… this aged queen of our cathedrals,’ as (Victor) Hugo called it, from its contribution in the Middle Ages to its restoration in the 1800s.” Getty Museum director Timothy Potts said that the recent fire sparked a newfound global appreciation for the architecture itself, which is why the institution is moving to put this collection on display now. “We thought it appropriate at this moment to illuminate the artistic and cultural impact that Notre-Dame has played in European history, drawing on the rich holding of the Museum and the Getty Research Institute.”
The Getty Museum, established in 1974, has long been an authoritative research and conservation institution, as well as an education center on Grecian, Roman, and Etrurian art. In 2006, the museum’s sister site, the Getty Villa, opened in Malibu to house and showcase some of the Getty’s 44,000-piece collection, including ancient antiquities, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts. The museum also boasts a large stock of global photography dating back from the invention of the camera through contemporary times, some of which will be on display in An Enduring Icon through October 20th.
From the Getty collections—remembering the grandeur of Notre-Dame. pic.twitter.com/uRrb6NSLmk— J. Paul Getty Museum (@GettyMuseum) April 15, 2019
The Getty-sponsored initiative, Pacific Standard Time, has released a partial list of the exhibitions associated with next year’s upcoming installment of its Southern California-wide arts extravaganza. Held every two to three years since 2011, the upcoming Pacific Standard Time installment for 2017 will focus squarely on facilitating cross-cultural artistic pollination by showcasing artworks and research from North and South America in the Los Angeles area. Pacific Standard Time is being presented by more than 70 partners located within a California area spanning Santa Barbara to the north, Palm Springs to the east, and San Diego to the south. Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA (PST:LA/LA), as next year’s initiative is known, aims to utilize the Southland area as a staging ground for the provocative presentation of works hailing from regions of the continent that feed into L.A.’s multicultural expanse. According to a promotional Youtube clip for the project, “A single form of artistic expression can be born in one place and reshape an entire region thousands of miles away. That’s the power of Latin American and Latino Art’s influence on Los Angeles,” adding, “It’s time for Southern California to turn a spotlight on its cultural and artistic roots.” Though the exhibitions presented will cover topics as diverse as luxury goods from the pre-Columbian Americas to post-World War II utopias in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, PST:LA/LA’s program also aims to showcase a variety of architectural- and design-related exhibitions that touch on critical architectural issues and their impact on art. The Getty Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) are doing much of the heavy lifting in this department, with LACMA presenting multiple architecturally-related shows. LACMA’s Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985 will look at the exchange of architectural dialogues between California and Mexico and examine how the Spanish Colonial, Pre-Columbian Revivals, Craftsman, and Modernist architectural movements played a role in defining each locale throughout the 20th century. The museum’s Home—So Different, So Appealing, exhibition—part of a collaboration with Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and organized by the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles—aims to present an "alternative narrative of postwar and contemporary art by showcasing the work of Latino-American and Latin American artists from the late 1950s to the present who have used the idea of "home" as a grounding feature in their work." LACMA will also play host to A Universal History of Infamy, a collective exhibition of more than 15 artists and collectives who have developed multi-disciplinary projects while attending residency programs organized by the 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, California, including the work of Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa and his A Brief History of Architecture in Guatemala from 2013. The Getty Research Institute's Urban Transfer(s): Building the Latin American Metropolis from Independence to the Threshold of Modernism will consist of a visual survey of the growth experienced by Latin American cities between the 1920s and today, tracing a narrative arc spanning from the decolonization period of the late 19th century to contemporary urban conditions for the metropolises that now dot the continent. The Palm Springs Art Museum will hold Living Architecture: Lina Bo Bardi and Albert Frey, a comparative look at the work of Brazilian Modernist paragon Lina Bo Bardi and Southern California architect Albert Frey. Bo Bardi translated Frey’s text, Living Architecture for Domus in 1959 and each helmed practices that engaged with Modernism in architecture as well as furniture and urban design. The Craft and Folk Art Museum will show The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility, a collection of work by individuals who grapple with the U.S.-Mexico border wall in their work, featuring work of artists and designers like Teddy Cruz, Adrian Esparza, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, and Ana Serrano. Last but not least, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery will hold Learning from Latin America: Art, Architecture, and Visions of Modernism a collection of work from Brazilian, Cuban, Mexican, and Venezuelan artists who have engaged with the contested legacies of Modern architecture in their work. To explore the growing list of exhibitions, visit the Pacific Standard Time website here.
OVERDRIVE: LA Constructs the Future, 1940-1990 The J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles Through July 21 Gleaming cars speeding down an intricate freeway system, flashy movie theatres, quirky coffee shops, sleek corporate towers and residential spaces, drive-in churches, the infamous Hollywood sign, LAX Airport (above), and a lucrative petroleum industry are just some of the many impressive characteristics associated with the rich culture of Los Angeles. This exhibition at The J. Paul Getty Museum explores a metropolis that remained in “overdrive” throughout the 20th century, implementing cutting-edge architectural design to effectively respond to civic, environmental, and socioeconomic challenges that plagued the city. In just 50 years, the city rapidly evolved into one the most influential industrial, creative, and economic capitals in the world. Through drawings, photographs, models, animations, oral histories, and ephemera, the exhibition celebrates the notable transformation of the city of Los Angeles from 1940–1990.
Portuguese architect, curator, and writer Pedro Gadanho will join the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture and Design as a curator of contemporary architecture effective January 11. In addition to organizing exhibitions, Gadanho will supervise the annual Young Architect's Program, which has recently expanded from New York to Rome and Chile. Read more details in AN's breaking news story. In other museum news, James Cuno, the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has taken on yet another Getty role: acting director of the Getty Museum. In addition to supervising all of the Getty's various holdings, Cuno, the former director of the Art Institute of Chicago, will now be back in familiar territory, overseeing the museum following the resignation of acting director David Bomford. Other West Coast shifts: Behnisch Architekten closes their Venice, CA office, while Oakland, California-based VDK Architects, which specializes in the Science & Technology market sector, has merged with the architecture and engineering practice Harley Ellis Devereaux. More mergers back East:Electric Lighting Agencies and O’Blaney Rinker Associates are joining forces and combining their lighting and control system specification businesses in New York City. Dwell magazine regrouped this fall following the departure of editor-in-chief Sam Grawe and also established a New York editorial outpost; executive editor Amanda Dameron was promoted to editor-in-chief and Alejandro Chavetta was bumped up from art director to creative director. Kelsey Keith departed Curbed NY to join Dwell as a New York-based senior editor.