Last Saturday, we were killing time, waiting for the JANM to open at 11 for George Takei’s exhibit. We wandered south on Central, looking for Groundworks Coffee on Traction Avenue, an obscure slanting street connecting 3rd street and 4th Street Place, when ohhh myyyy! We stumbled into the Arts District with buildings and walls covered with images, portraits, color.
Then on Thursday, we drove to the old Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard, now rehabilitated as the Marciano Art Foundation Museum. Although admission is free, we did have to make reservations and get “tickets” … that were very carefully examined before we were allowed to enter the nearly empty parking lot.
I was gently surprised to find a museum staff tolerant of photographers and questions and a ten page guide to the exhibits. It was an entertaining visit, replete with political and classical references, familiar pop culture themes, humor.
Untitled Nervous Men
The Two Suns
Curator Philip Kaiser and artist Jim Shaw fully exploited the spacious rooms, creating a cartoon world for wandering and wondering.
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Tagged Adrian Villa Rojas, Angels Flight Brewery, Arts District, Contemporary Art, DTLA, Jim Saw, Los Angeles, Marciano Art Foundation, Mark Grotjahn, Mike Kelley, Old Masonic Temple, Philip Kaiser
It seems strange that we demonstrated for science … isn’t it the foundation of modern life … likening the march to demonstrating in favor of food or water or oxygen?
Nonetheless, thousands of us converged on DTLA, riding buses, the metro, carrying signs, props, even costumes. Signs of the day: “No science, no internet,” “No plague? That’s Science.” But the very best: “No science, no BEER.”
I would add, “No science, no photography!” Armed with my Galaxy Mini S4 to document the event, it was hard to miss the humorous and sometimes witty flavor of the day. Still, too slow to boot up, my phone camera missed the raunchy cardboard cutout of President Trump. And because of my lack of height, I missed a gory, dripping sign that read “Even Zombies Love Brains.” (Everyone else’s heads covered the bottom word, Brains. )
Urban hikes in LA provide an opportunity to experience the geographical relationship between communities and the city center. This time, we started from the basin floor at Echo Park Lake, a large, manicured urban pond stocked with coots, rental boats and floating lilies.
As in all parts of Los Angeles, Echo Park is surrounded by hills where bedroom communities were built with staircases that residents would descend to catch the streetcars (the Red Car system.) Although the advent of automobile culture ended the rail system by the l950’s, the stairways remain.
We climbed staircases on both sides of the lake, finding graffiti, spectacular views of DTLA, the ever-present freeways, and then stumbled upon gorgeous Victorian mansions at the top of Angelino Heights.
The best part? After some four or five miles of tromping up and down the old staircases, lunch at Taix was just a block away from Echo Park!
Word to the wise: the weekend after Labor Day is perfect for a trip to the Getty Center…the weather was cooler than it’s been in a long time and the crowd was so thin that the interminable summer lines were gone. There was no jostling in the galleries, zero waiting in the ladies’ restroom!
Although there is a walking path from the parking lot to the Getty Center campus, the Saturday trekkers chose to ride the tram that lifted us from the urban stresses of the valley to the world of art at the top of the hill.
For this photographer the combination of exhibits this month was a treat…starting with a romp through photo history via 19th century French photography. It included larger-than-life portraits created by contemporary photographer, Richard Learoyd, in his room-sized camera obscura. His use of a camera 0bscura not only paid homage to the early history of photography but gave him an opportunity to refer to some of the figurative art displayed in “London Calling.” In that exhibit, I found two favorite themes: figurative art with a psychological twist and urban landscapes.
A few pictures, with apologies for my phone camera that gets fidgety in low light:
From a series, “Black Triptychs,” Bacon and his long time lover, George Dyer. It was painted in the months following his suicide. The mid panel was inspired by Edweard Muybridge’s photographs of wrestlers.
Photographed in his room sized camera obscura.