When I visit Los Angeles, I try to see as much art on show as I can. Last year I visited the Getty Centre which is mind-blowing in its magnificent architecture and vast number of exhibits. This year I was determined to see the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Again, its a pretty special experience – why does the world only think of LA in terms of Hollywood and celebrities??? There is a whole other world.
Or worlds…..to get there I had to organise my own transport and my daughter in law introduced me to UBER. I had known about this private car competition to taxis but never used it. I duly downloaded the ‘uber’ app – not without some hiccups – not totally user friendly and would not accept my Q card (Qantas cash card) – finally discovered it does not like debit cards – irritating – but took my AMEX happily. I elected the car pool option because I could not turn it off (max 2 passengers) but ended up solo anyway. The first trip was free because I was referred and the return trip – which is a long way- cost $5! I was mightily entertained by both John on the outward trip (ex Navy diver, served in Middle East and Afghanistan, but did not appear to be bruised by the experience) and Javed (immigrant from Indian subcontinent wanting to get to Australia) on the homeward trip. I recommend this mode of transport for LA highly.
Back to LACMA. At the entrance there are 200+ lamp posts from bygone eras – impressive when all lit up at night. Ed Moses is an icon of the LA art world, so I started in the gallery showing a retrospective of his drawings – most highly detailed graphic work with a basis in technical and engineering drawing, but some interesting cut out and 3D paper work as well as some based on Indian Navajo blanket designs and soaked in resin so stiff, unframed and aged looking.
Interesting photographic exhibit by Larry Sulman detailing his family life – I became engaged by the progress of his father as Schick razor executive to retired family man in Californa and the images of Sulman’s mother over time.
I was looking for the Japanese Pavilion but needed a latte so settled to watch hordes of schoolchildren in an amazing variety of clothes and hairstyles (so different from the uniformed scholars of home). The majority were Afro-American, Hispanic or Asian with a few Anglos interspersed but they were all friends together, no one group seemed to be exclusive – there is hope for a lack of racism…. I also found the Children’s Art Room and, taking the Lonely Planet Guide at is word (anyone can paint in there), I asked an elderly black man who was engrossed in his work and he indicated the helpers – paper, block ink colours and ink paint brushes are supplied – three satisfactory art works later I moved on.
The Japanese Pavillion is beautifully designed with a ramp that takes you gradually up and through the building, like the Guggenheim in New York. The windows are opaque to let in light, but allow it to be suffused, the better to show off the gold detailing. The current exhibition is ‘The Cosmos in a Raku Bowl’ – special bowls used in the tea ceremony – many date from the 1500’s and are quite basic and rough by present day ceramics. They are displayed with ancient ink scrolls.The last elements on the top floor are perfection in Japanese ceramics, enamel, lacquer boxes
Other galleries contained European American art from the 1700s to the present – did some sketching in there and admired the magnificent David Hockney on the entrance wall. Across the way were African textiles in dazzling colours, beadwork and headdresses. I didn’t really have time to look at Egypt, Korea, China etc, but its all there!
Finished at the bookstore and had to restrain myself from too many purchases! Did get a book on Frank Gehry’s drawings for Owen and Zoe. Not wanting to get caught in peak hour traffic, I wandered past the La Brea tar pits – home of many ancient fossils – the pits still bubble away, tar coming to the surface and smell just like a newly laid strip of asphalt. Home please Javed!