FROM Carolina Miranda
What it took to move the Theme Mural of LA “Theme Mural of Los Angeles” is 36 foot long, showing iconic LA landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The massive mural was recently moved out of the Parker Center, the former home of the LAPD. It was moved in one piece last Saturday to the warehouse in Vernon.
Morphosis avoids designing an icon for OCMA Orange County Museum of Art closed its doors this weekend in Newport Beach. It will now move to a temporary location in South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana. Next year it will break ground on a permanent home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. The 52,000-square-foot building will sit on a space between the wavy glass Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, designed by architect Cesar Pelli, and the Segerstrom Hall that was designed by Charles Lawrence. This design by Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis is the third iteration after working with the museum for ten years. It builds on several decades of embattled efforts by OCMA to expand. Mayne and his team have designed buildings all over the world, among them, in LA: Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in downtown LA, Emerson College on Sunset and Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona. The designs demand attention. They tend to be severe and industrial but oddly beautiful, often made of thrusting concrete or steel with decorative metal skins and a sense of barely-contained energy. The goal in OC though, says Thom Mayne, was not to do another architectural icon. “True or not, we're seen as somewhat aggressive, kind of strong architects,” says Mayne, adding “we came out very early saying we don't want to do another object in a series of objects.” But this is his first art museum. He’s had around five near-misses -- and that includes being shortlisted for the LACMA expansion that was proposed back in 2001. He’s been eager to build one for a long time. “The museum is a challenge at this time in history in terms of the definition of an architectural response to it, to a museum of art,” Mayne said. But it is the architectural responses that sometimes worry art lovers, like Carolina Miranda, staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. “I was a little concerned when I heard that Mayne was the architect because Mayne is a big brash form maker and... designing a museum, sometimes the architect has to check the ego in at the door,” she said. As it turns out, Miranda -- who knows Orange County well, having attended high school in Irvine -- “was impressed with his design, in the sense that it's quite a simple design. It's not going to be a huge museum. The galleries have you know these basic rectilinear proportions and they're very flexible,” she said. “And he's designed this incredible staircase that goes on the outside of it. And all of it is centered around a Richard Serra sculpture that is currently already at the site, and is really trying to create this public space that doesn't really exist in that area currently.” Miranda is referring to Richard Serra’s epic sixty-six-foot high sculpture, called “Connector.” It’s made of five rusting steel plates that curve and torque towards the sky. “We literally tipped our hat at the Serra piece. It became you can say the generator for the whole urban idea,” explains Mayne. He describes the building as a kind of landmass, inspired by land artists like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, that is “stratified horizontally. It's a series of horizontal layers which are very kind of geological like the Earth layers but that horizontality is also meant to exaggerate the vertical nature of the Connector because, the way the building bends in and with the stair, we literally give you the space of contemplation with this thing in front of you.” The result is a kind of futuristic version of a Mediterranean public square and campanile -- in which the Serra artwork is the bell tower. This got us thinking about how every contemporary art museum these days has to have one of Serra’s powerful coiled, rusting corten steel sculptures. But they are not always integrated so directly into the architecture. “I do think his work is interesting especially on the material level and the engineering level,” Miranda said, “but he's just become one of those artists for collectors. And so a lot of museums and public spaces end up with them because collectors acquire acquire them and donate them.” “And because the museum design has been so long in coming that Serra has always felt kind of abandoned there. And so I'm glad to see Mayne giving it that attention because it shows an engagement not just with the buildings and the urbanism of that area, but with the art.” Some reporters have queried how the museum will pay for its new building. After all, says Miranda, OCMA still needs to build up its endowment. The board says they’ve raised a portion of the costs through selling their property in Fashion Island and now they are entering the “silent phase” of their capital campaign to raise the rest. So, does the new building warrant the expenditure? “It could be really great. It could not work. And so I think he's trying to inject a little bit of that in it, of this place that could be a little bit spontaneous. And I think Orange County desperately needs that,” Miranda said. A rendering showing the entrance to the new Orange County Museum of Art, with Richard Serra’s “Connector” sculpture seen to the left.
'Made in LA' at the Hammer Museum The Hammer Museum just opened its fourth edition of “Made in LA.” That’s the biennial exhibition that showcases art produced in LA. It goes on until September 2. The exhibit deals with women’s bodies, and two-thirds of the artists are women.
How George Rodriguez photographed Los Angeles George Rodriguez has been taking pictures of Los Angeles since the 1950s. He has documented history by capturing stars like Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe, and culturally significant events like the Chicano student protests and striking farm workers. Art contributor, Carolina Miranda, talks to us about the South LA photographer’s new book and exhibition opening next week in East Hollywood.
Chicano identity on display at Autry Museum A pair of exhibitions at the Autry Museum of the American West aim to prove that Mexicans and Mexican Americans are not “bad hombres,” as Donald Trump said on the campaign trail. The shows explore Chicano identity by documenting activism, faith, community and culture: “La Raza” and “Chicano Male Unbonded.” Gerardo Velázquez, Synthesized Music Composer, 1991 . Photo by Harry Gamboa Jr. A photograph in the “La Raza” exhibit. Photo by Maria Varela. Images courtesy of the Autry Museum.
MOCA's chief curator is fired, what's next for the museum and LA's art scene? LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown has fired its chief curator, Helen Molesworth. She was a big get for MOCA. She curated two of the museum’s most popular shows: a 35-year retrospective of American painter Kerry James Marshall, and another retrospective of Brazilian sculptor Anna Maria Maiolino. Also, architect Richard Meier is accused of sexual harassment by five women. He designed the Getty Center among many other buildings around the world. Now Meier’s taking a six-month leave of absence.
Hollywood: Where do reality and fantasy meet? Art columnist Carolina Miranda took TMZ’s "2-hour celebrity safari" ahead of Sunday’s Oscars. The tour took her past the In-N-Out, the Chateau Marmont and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, home to the first ever Academy Awards. The next day, Carolina Miranda went to the Oscars. She reports on where fantasy Hollywood collide.
Art show depicts the Caribbean as more than an 'island paradise' “The island paradise” is the image of the Caribbean you find in travel magazines. But scratch the surface, and you discover a melting pot of languages and races still recovering from the heavy hand of its colonial past. A show of Caribbean artists touching on these themes runs through the weekend at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. Nadia Huggins (Trinidad and Tobago, b. 1984) No. 25 Circa No Future, 2014 Courtesy of the artist. Miguel Luciano (Puerto Rico, b. 1972) Sela and Adi, SmART Power, 2012 Courtesy of the artist. Fausto Ortiz (Dominican Republic, b. 1970) Fragments from the series Exodus, 2013 Courtesy of the artist.
Eight border wall prototypes: Works of art in themselves? Eight giant prototypes of the US-Mexico border wall have been built on the San Diego side of the border. Swiss artist Christoph Büchel has created a tour for people to view them. He says they’re modern versions of land art. Others say that’s offensive.
New York Times draws fury for explaining LA to Angelenos The New York Times yesterday published a front page story that portrayed Southern California as a place of aimless urban sprawl, no civic institutions, and a newspaper in turmoil. Angelenos used choice words to bash the article on Twitter. Some pointed out factual errors. Others said it was another example of The New York Times describing LA as an inferior city.
Remembering LA ceramicist Dora De Larios Dora De Larios in her studio. Artist Dora De Larios created everything from small, functional tableware to giant ceramic sculptures. She incorporated Native American and Japanese influences in her art. She died on Sunday at 84. A retrospective of her work opens in February at the Main Museum downtown. Dora De Larios' 1990s "Small Blue Animal." Dora De Larios' 1982 work "Inner Vision." Photos courtesy of Carolina Miranda
'PST: LA/LA:' Performance art to check out A 10-day festival of modern performance art launches tomorrow. It’s called Live Art LA/LA, and it’s part of Pacific Standard Time. There will be shows at 25 different locations around LA, and more than 200 performers from 15 Latin American countries.
Why experimental art gallery Machine Project mattered Machine Project has been running in Echo Park since 2003, but it’s shutting down next week. The Machine Project enabled artists to collaborate on experimental projects, and it worked with big institutions like LACMA and the Hammer Museum. We look back at the highlights of Machine Project over the last 15 years.
The year in controversial art In 2017, several major art exhibits were changed because of protests. The Guggenheim pulled three pieces after animal rights activists said there was animal cruelty. The Whitney removed a piece by a white artist depicting Emmett Till’s death out of its Biennial due to public outrage. Events like these raise questions about censorship, artistic expression and power in the art world.
What sexual misconduct allegations at Artforum say about the art world Knight Landesman is the former co-publisher of Artforum, the glossy bible of the art world. He has been accused of sexually harassing women who worked at the magazine.
LACMA gets $150M for its redesign, so will it actually happen? LACMA announced a massive gift from music mogul David Geffen today. We also talk about a retrospective of the Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino here in LA. And in New York, the Guggenheim Museum is taking heat from animal rights activists and the art world about some controversial works.
Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé Morgan Parker says that the poems in her book There Are Things More Beautiful than Beyoncé take a stand against the clichés of the dominant culture.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.