LACMA’s new art shows: utopianism, ventriloquism, Japanese drawings

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The inside of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been closed to the public because of the pandemic and construction. Parts of LACMA have been demolished to make way for a new structure that will grace Wilshire Boulevard. Outdoors, people can still see art and experience the area around LACMA. 

But there’s still some new art inside. The museum just installed several shows, which will be up for a long time (and LACMA will eventually open). 

The LA-based artist Cauleen Smith’s installation, “Give It or Leave It,” looks at sites about spirituality, creativity, and utopianism, such as Watts Tower and Alice Coltrane’s the Vedantic Center. These places reimagine what community could look like.

NOT I: Throwing Voices” is focused on ventriloquism — the idea of other people speaking on your behalf. It involves work from LACMA’s collection from 1500 BCE to 2020, combining prehistoric objects with contemporary artworks.

Installation photograph, “NOT I: Throwing Voices (1500 BCE-2020 CE),” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2021. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.

Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s new show includes lots of drawings — and they’re more than the dreamy-eyed girls that the artist is known for. The show also includes a 26-foot bronze sculpture called “Miss Forest” that people can see on Wilshire Boulevard.

Yoshitomo Nara, “No Nukes,” 1998, acrylic and colored pencil on paper, 14⅛ × 8⅞ in. (36 × 22.5 cm). Collection of Masayuki Nagase, © Yoshitomo Nara 1998. Photo by Norihiro Ueno, courtesy of the artist.