Metropolis II, opening at LACMA on January 14, is installation artist Chris Burden’s action-packed, raucous, optimistic view of Los Angeles sometime in the not-to-distant future. Eleven-hundred custom-made, die-cast cars, about twice the size of a Matchbox car, race through a multilevel system of 18 roadways that twist and turn and undulate amid buildings that seem vaguely familiar but are not replicas of any specific landmark (although, strangely, there is what looks like an Eiffel Tower). The cars whip along on a plastic roadway at fantastic speeds, producing an enormous din that echoes off the gallery walls like the incessant roar of real-life freeway traffic. HO-scale trains and 1930s-era trolley cars roll along tracks of their own, adding a cheerful nostalgia to the mix. Burden, who was smartly dressed in a Navy-blue suit, striped dark blue and cerulean shirt, and black loafers, said, “When you are stuck in traffic, think of this sculpture. That’s the future, a hopeful future, where cars will have an average speed of 230 miles per hour—as soon as Google gets its [automated] cars up and running.” In Burden’s joyously idealistic city, there won’t be traffic signals. Cars will cross intersections in a perfect harmony, effortlessly travelling through “the warp and woof of the city fabric.” Metropolis II—a name that invokes a fanciful makeover of the drab, congested present version of Los Angeles—is a boyish delight. Yet another in a long line of automotive utopias from the Hot Wheels that come wrapped for Christmas as committed to Walt Disney’s own autopia. It seems unfair, but you’re compelled to ask, where is the public transit that planners extol as our real future? What is the energy source for all these racing cars? And, most curious of all, where are all the people who’re supposed to be careening freely behind the wheels of all those racing cars?
Posts tagged with "LACMA":
Every once in a while forces converge and we get an epic architecture weekend. One of those weekends is happening now. Here are some of the events going on in LA this weekend: 1.) Hollywood Wilshire Boulevard Focus Weekend, featuring free admission at the A+D Museum, Hammer Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, MAK Center, Fowler Museum along Wilshire Boulevard as well as events at all the institutions. All revolve around the Getty's epic Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions. These include: A discussion called The Legacy of the California Design Exhibitions at LACMA; a talk with Deborah Sussman about Eames Designs at A+D; a panel about Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement at the Fowler, a discussion about Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960 – 1980 at the Hammer; and a about Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design at the MAK Center. 2.) Launch of the exhibition, Architecture—A Woman's Profession at WUHO Hollywood and a Saturday panel discussion at the MAK Center, moderated by AN's Sam Lubell and featuring author Tanja Kullack as well as Barbara Bestor, Monica Ponce de Leon, Dagmar Richter, and Ingalill Whlroos-Ritter. 3.) Inglewood Open Studios, featuring visits to the studios of more than 30 artists (and a few architects) in this emerging arts district, but showing off great arts spaces like the 32,400 square foot Beacon Arts Building.
If all goes according to plan, sometime in early October an enormous boulder will leave a Riverside, California quarry and a couple of weeks later roll onto the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to become an installation called Levitated Mass. In 1968, Michael Heizer, the artist behind Levitated Mass, made a drawing of a rock he hoped would one day emerge from the quarry he had been visiting. Decades later in 2007, the boulder he’d been looking for tumbled out of its granite escarpment. The 21½-foot-tall rock came to rest several yards from the quarry face. “It was quarried up top, and they pushed it with 2 bulldozers and a Caterpillar loader 300 feet. That’s how we pulled it off the mountain. But when it became a work of art, they had a big cradle and crane to move it,” remarked Stephen Vander Hart, the head of Stone Valley quarry, who seems both pleased and anxious to see the boulder leave his custody. It has taken nearly five years of fundraising and engineering to work out how to move the rock the 85 miles to Los Angeles. To get from quarry to museum, the 340-ton chunk of granite will be slung on thick cables suspended between two 127-foot-long steel beams and hauled at a snail’s pace by a Kenworth truck in front and an Oshkosh military transport from behind. Each truck is capable of producing 550 to 600 horsepower. The entire rig, front to back, will be 273'-10" inches long. LACMA says the rock is the “largest monolith moved since ancient times," a lofty claim no one could really prove or disprove. Still, toting the 670,000-pound boulder requires Emmert International (the firm building and driving the rig) to construct a transporter consisting of two hollow beams of welded and gusseted T-1 laminated steel. Each beam is roughly 2 feet wide, tapering from 40” up to a height of 6’-9”. The beams, which have been pieced together on site around the boulder, are made up of five sections that will be drawn together by bolts along vertical seams. When closed, the seams push against each other, like the keystone in an arch, becoming stronger because they are in compression. When completed, the beams will be connected by cross members and trusses, forming a 26’-7” wide saddle that will sit on 22 dollies with remote control steering. A total of 196 tires will bear the load. Empty, the rig will weigh nearly a half-million pounds; fully loaded about 1.1 million pounds. It will lumber, by night, at an average speed of five miles per hour. “It’s just a big rock,” said Rick Albrecht, Emmert’s supervisor for the move. “I’ve seen most of the route so far. We’ll do it,” he added flatly.
Tim Burton Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles Through October 31 Best known for directing films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Beetle Juice, Tim Burton and his work as an illustrator, writer, and artist are being honored with a retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This new show celebrates the way that Burton has managed to put his own spin on movies in an industry known for its fear of the unknown. With over 700 items on display, including drawings, paintings, photographs, film and video works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and assorted cinematic ephemera, visitors get a glimpse into the mind of this modern day Renaissance man. Though the show debuted on the east coast at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the LACMA version of the show, organized by Britt Salvesen, offers its own take on the Burbank native’s body of work. Burton collaborated with the exhibition designers to transform the museum’s Resnick Pavilion into an appropriately “Burtonesque” environment. He also created several new pieces for the exhibition, including what the museum describes as a “revolving multimedia, black-light carousel installation that hangs from the ceiling.”
Now you've got another date to look forward to next month besides July 4. The city of Los Angeles has officially declared July 16, 2011, which would have been John Lautner's 100th birthday, John Lautner Day. That event will kick of the John Lautner Turns 100 Series, created by the John Lautner Foundation, which will feature a ridiculous amount of exhibitions, film screenings, home tours, symposia and receptions. By the way, if you haven't visited a Lautner house before, you better do it now. A full list of activities below, and here. July 16, John Lautner Day July 16-22, John Lautner Exhibit at LACMA, featuring Lautner's Goldstein Office July 23, MAK Center John Lautner 100th Birthday Tour, including the Sheats/Goldstein House, Schwimmer House, Harpel House and Jacobsen House. Tickets available here. July 24, Lautner Gala + Auction, Harpel Residence July 30, Lautner in Film, including the Lautner Documentary films John Lautner, the Desert Hot Springs Motel; The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner; and Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner , Egyptian Theater, Los Angeles. August 19-Nov 13, John Lautner: A Life in Architecture exhibit at DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University Fall 2011, Lautner Preservation Symposium, co-sponsored by the LA Conservancy Fall 2011, Behind The Scenes: The John Lautner Archive Collection at the Getty Center For more information, including tour times and events in other cities, go here or here.
Last night we enjoyed a sold-out lecture at LACMA by the force that is Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. At age 36 the founder of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has accomplished more than most architects do in their lifetimes. How does he do it? We're still trying to figure that out. Here are a few theories: 1.) He acts on every smart and/or crazy impulse and actually follows through. 2.) He marries utopian ideas with pragmatism 3.) He's an amazing speaker and marketer. 4.) He seems to have more energy than just about anyone. Take for example, the video (after the jump) of Ingels riding a bike through his spiral-shaped Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. What better way to show off his architecture and his boundless energy. Genius. Stay tuned for our interview with Ingels, coming soon...
We've just learned via the LA Times that construction-happy LACMA has suspended all future projects until they've raised another $100 million. The news comes on the heels of a mixed finance review from Moody's Investors Service, which downgraded its ratings outlook from "stable" to "negative." The museum has so far raised about $320 million for its construction program, and its construction bonds kept their A2 rating. The suspension means an official halt to SPF:A Architects' LACMA West Project, which includes the renovation of the 1939 May Company building on Wilshire and Fairfax into new gallery spaces. That project was originally scheduled for completion this year. It also puts a longer hold on renovation projects on LACMA's east end, which were to be the third phase of LACMA's campus transformation.
Buildings, of course, have acoustic properties. But what about acoustic potential? Musician and recent high school graduate Ben Meyers has carved himself a niche by using buildings and their various surfaces and surroundings as musical elements. His most recent performance: a song performed with his mallets and drumsticks on Renzo Piano's new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA, which opens to the public early next month. A video of the piece, called Playing LACMA, was commissioned by the museum. “No one takes a second during the day and thinks of all the sounds that can be coming from their surroundings. Things that just seem so lifeless and things that you’re around every day,” Meyers said. The sounds he found at the Resnick include melodic tones from travertine tiles on the wall, booming lows from the building’s oversized metal ventilation structures, and some surprisingly hollow sounds from various palm trees on site. With about 11 or 12 tracks of audio and video recorded on site, Meyers pulled everything together into the two-and-a-half minute video. Meyers performed, shot and edited it himself. He composed the piece before seeing the building in person, memorizing the song’s rhythms on the plane ride to L.A. Once on site, however, the sounds he found didn’t exactly line up with what he had in mind during composition. "I was kind of a lost dog in the beginning, hitting things that just sounded completely dead. It was a lot of trial and error,” Meyers said. Meyers gathered some Internet fame this spring for his music video “Empty School," using various surfaces and objects at his Maryland high school as instruments in a song. The folks at the LACMA liked it, and asked Meyers to come out to interpret the Resnick. Meyers rrecently started his first year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he hopes to study music production and engineering. He also wants to continue his architecture-based musical explorations. The school’s older buildings, he says, have a lot of potential. “There’s some pretty cool ringing, interesting sounding metal beams and all sorts of stuff,” Meyers said. “I’ve been getting ideas here already.”
LACMA's new Resnick Pavilion by Renzo Piano doesn't open until October, but the museum has given visitors a few chances to look inside. The results, which we took advantage of last week, are impressive. The single story, open-plan space feels raw, exposed, and much more comfortable in its skin than its neighbor, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (also by Piano, by the way). Here are some of my snaps of the new building, which is fitted with an installation by Walter De Maria (called The 2000 Sculpture) made up of hundreds of repetitive plaster shapes that make up a mesmerizing grid, really bringing out the best in this new building.
A Quincy Jones' Brody House in LA's Holmby Hills has hit the market for a whopping $24.95 million, report the Wall Street Journal and LA Curbed. The 11,500 square foot modernist home has nine bedrooms, a tennis court, pool, and a guest house on 2.3 acres. It also features a floating staircase, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces. Not coincidentally the art collection of the home's owners, Sydney F. and Frances Brody, is going up for auction today at Christie's in New York. It includes works by Picasso, Giacometti, Matisse, Degas, Renoir (not bad staging pieces for a house sale). The couple were founding benefactors of LACMA, major patrons of the Huntington Library and Gardens, and known for throwing legendary parties full of stars. Frances Brody died last November. We think Mr. and Mrs. Brad Pitt would like living here.
Thanks to our friends at Curbed LA, we learn that LACMA has wrapped its Ahmanson Building in a rainbow of fabrics for its upcoming show, "Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from South Korea (June 28-Sept. 20). It's the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. featuring South Korean contemporary art. The installation above , called Welcome, 2009, was designed by Choi Jeong-Hwa. Yes, it seems like a good time to be Korean in LA. What with Korean investors putting up cash for two of the city's newest skyscrapers; with Koreatown expanding into Little Tokyo and elsewhere; and of course with the season ripe for Korean Angelenos favorite sport, golf, the future looks bright indeed!
The board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) today made a formal proposal to merge with the financially struggling Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). According to a press release (top portion, above) issued today by LACMA, the goal of the move would be to to "preserve the independence and integrity of both institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure." To save money MOCA has already shut down its Geffen Contemporary for six months, and is said to be pondering the sale of some of its artworks.
According to the release if a merger were to occur MOCA's collections would not only be exhibited at LACMA's Grand Avenue location and at the Geffen, but also at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), and at LACMA's planned Stewart Resnick Pavilion. LACMA's $68.2 million budget is more than three times that of MOCA's $20 million. According to the L.A. Times, MOCA's trustees met today to discus proposals, including a $30-million bailout offer from Eli Broad. According to Curbed LA, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion to allocate $2.8 million in Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds to the struggling MOCA, provided the museum adheres to its stipulations. Stay tuned....