Groundhog Day 2022
Before the pandemic froze California in a wave of shutdowns and disease, Los Angeles had established itself as a cultural capital…
—Adam Nagourney, The New York Times, May 12, 2021
I really think L.A. is turning into the new Berlin.
—Klaus Biesenbach, The New York Times, July 31, 2018
Los Angeles will continue to gain in importance… New York is still the center, but L.A. dares more.
—Destinee Russ-Sutton, Artnet News, Oct. 9, 2021
Los Angeles isn’t an egghead place, and no one expects the local civic museum to do Nobel-caliber scholarship.… Museums in Southern California compete with the best weather in the world and hundreds of miles of sandy beaches on which buff surfers and present-day Gidgets cavort.
—Brian T. Allen, National Review, July 29, 2021
Los Angeles is not necessarily known as a city of art collectors, but nestled smack dab in Beverly Hills is among the more active buyers in the market…
—The New York Times, July 5, 2021
The prolonged closure is… setting the city back at a crucial moment when an influx of artists and galleries and an expanding museum scene had prompted some to pronounce Los Angeles the contemporary art world’s creative center.
—The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2021
—Cheech Marin, ArtNews, Nov. 9, 2021
However, since LACMA has been pummeled and shredded, LA's cultural scene in a way has regressed. It's a case of back to the future, what goes around, comes around, and the past predicts the future.
Lots to keep busy, for tourists and locals alike.
With Europe non grata, a fine alternative.
So, here we go, in April, to attack northern Ohio...Cleveland Museum; Toledo Museum; Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College; and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown.
There's another regular to this blog who, by contrast, posts a lot of hilarious ad-hominem replies, often to my frequent bashing of Govan's Folly on Wilshire.
The balance of this post is drawn from the Foundation's web site:
More than four hundred works of art are on display at the Foundation. The collection includes works by European Modernists including Cezanne, Picasso, and Kandinsky and Surrealist works by Ernst, Miro, and Magritte.
The holdings in postwar art include works by Giacometti, Noguchi, Calder, Rauschenberg, and Johns; Abstract Expressionist paintings by de Kooning, Francis, Still, and Rothko; Color-Field paintings by Frankenthaler, Louis, and Noland; and Pop Art by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, and Rosenquist.
Contemporary California works include those by Ruscha and Goode, and Super Realist sculptures by Hanson and de Andrea. These holdings are part of a larger collection that Mr. Weisman established as the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in 1982.
It's just become more polarized.
On one side, there's the LA elites who buy the art and/or who pay for the museum buildings.
On the other side, there is the Save-LACMA mob and the critics at the local newspaper who resent the elites for having so much influence over the cultural life of the city.
The polarization would be comprehensible if the politics of the cultural mob were progressive. But that's not the case at all. In LA, the Save-LACMA mob is NOT trying to de-colonize the museum; it's actually trying to preserve the imperial, museum model.
In which case, if there is any regression, it's only in the minds of the mob and its fears of cultural replacement. Far from the madding crowd, cultural moments of great import continue to happen in LA. The Save-LACMA mob and the local art critics may keep missing them, but everyone else from Vanity Fair to the New York Times keeps covering the events.
(Damn, 400 people at the dinner reception. I thought the COVID-testing requirement would thin the numbers.)
LACMA ain’t perfect, can’t think of a museum that is. LACMA looks like a saint compared to the crazy decade MOCA has had, albeit I’m grateful to all of it. The art schools in LA are top notch, the new museums look terrific (UCI and Lucas). I’m looking forward to the grand opening of LACMA and seeing all the wonderful new acquisitions. Ditto for picking the best time to be under construction.
However, at least LACMA is swimming in money, so the future looks bright.
> mob and the critics at the local newspaper
> who resent the elites for having so much
> influence over the cultural life of the city.
That's fitting quite a square peg into a round hole.
On one hand, you're saying that the elite is good. Then you imply they're bad.
Then you say the non-elite are bad, then you claim the non-elite are what?
So which is it?
Let them eat cake?