On Sunday afternoon in LA, the plan was to take a quick visit to The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, with the intention of seeing the Metropolis ll installation by Chris Burden. Another day, another very different art experience than I'm accustomed to in NY. NYC weekend art viewing at a major museum is about long lines, crowds and trying hard to maneuver to actually see the art. LA meant...sunny day, stroll among Robert Irwin's palm tree garden, seeing the outdoor exhibits and a few indoors, it was easy, no traffic and no crowds! The palms are an evolving installation, planted in a grid.
We walked around Chris Burden's, Urban Light....an installation created from a restored collection of over 200 cast-iron lampposts from throughout LA.
The outdoor courtyard takes you through and around a cafe that was quietly filled on this beautiful afternoon...I could imagine enjoying this year-round. Different than NYC, the MOMA garden or roof of the Met are packed during the short warm weather months.
We stopped in to see the Ken Price Retrospective. An LA based sculptor, who passed away last year - he is recognized for blurring the lines between sculpture and painting. Frank Gehry, a friend of Price's designed the exhibit, an overview of his 50 years of work and contribution to the art of sculpture.
His early pieces reflects time spent in Taos, with Southwestern feel and colors. Many pieces have this sense of being exposed, one side contrasting to the rest, revealing the shape and color within.
Price's recent and more well known work, are odd, rounded shapes that are all "lump and curve". He applied many layers of paint to achieve different luminous colors and textures, and meticulously smoothed the ceramic surface.
Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, CT is now exhibiting Doola, Price's last work before his death.
We head back across the courtyard to the timed showing of Metropolis ll...this is a pretty ambitious installation by Chris Burden. It's a kinetic sculpture that took 4 years to build, of a series of roadways, there are 100,000 cars that travel the 6-lanes on the 18 roadways
"The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.", Burden says of his creation.
Unfortunately, our timing was off, and we didn't get to see Metropolis ll in motion, so I watched the video -
[embedplusvideo height="376" width="620" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/llacDdn5yIE?fs=1" vars="ytid=llacDdn5yIE&width=620&height=376&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=¬es=" id="ep2312" /] On our way out, we saw Levitated Mass, or locally referred to as "The Rock", the infamous installation that took years from conception to installation
Michael Helzer conceived of this sculpture in 1969. Decades later he found the boulder he wanted in Riverside, CA. He then created the 456 foot long slat to support the rock above the pathway. Helzer's vision, "speaks to the expanse of art history, from ancient traditions of creating artworks from megalithic stone, to modern forms of abstract geometries and cutting-edge feats of engineering."
I heard stories of the journey of this boulder, the efforts to transport the 340-ton boulder, it travelled on a specially designed transport, over 11 days, through 22 cities, moving only at night. The planning and organization that this took....
The journey was documented and written about.
On this beautiful afternoon I enjoyed seeing it from many angles, walking towards it, under it and contemplating the enormity of this stone and how...and why it was there.
I thoroughly enjoyed 2 days of LA art, and an intro to works by a number of diverse local, and renowned artists.