LACMA Collects (Off-the-Blockchain Edition)

Peter Krasnow, K-3, 1945. LACMA, gift of Susan and
Bill Ehrlich

LACMA hasn't given up on analog art. Its modern galleries are now showing some new acquisitions of hard-edge abstraction (West Coast and Latin American) and assemblage.

Peter Krasnow's K-3 was a reaction to Hiroshima and the Holocaust. As Rico Lebrun went dark, Krasnow went light—watermelon pink, aqua, and lime—as "a means of protest to ease the pain." K-3 joins another painting and two sculptures by the pioneering L.A. modernist in LACMA's collection.

Carmen Herrera, White and Green, 1971. Promised gift of Marietta Wu and 
Thomas Yamamoto
A promised Carmen Herrera, White and Green, will be LACMA's first work by the Cuban-born New Yorker. 
Louise Nevelson, untitled, about 1975. LACMA, gift of Milly and Arne Glimcher

Pace Gallery founder Arne Glimcher and wife Milly have donated a Louise Nevelson wall sculpture, now the most substantial work by the artist in the collection. The gallery label recognizes Nevelson's nationality as "Russian Empire (now Ukraine)."

Dale Brockman Davis, Viet Nam War Games, 1969.  LACMA, gift of the 2021 Decorative Arts and Design Acquisition Committee

In 1967 Dale Brockman Davis and brother Alonzo founded Brockman Gallery, one of the first in L.A. to support artists of color. Davis' missiles and bullets, in ceramic and found metal, protest the Vietnam War. The acquisition was financed by the museum's decorative arts and design committee—because a lot of it is ceramic? It's a key addition of a widely published work.

Ron Miyashiro's Moire Box, 1961. LACMA, purchased with funds provided by Wendy Stark

Ron Miyashiro and Ed Bereal were in Huysman Gallery's 1961 "War Babies" exhibition (which also included Larry Bell and Joe Goode). Miyashiro's Moire Box is a Nevelson-black Cornell box that's also a cage. It may allude to Miyashiro's Hawaiian childhood after Pearl Harbor. 

Ed Bereal's Ronnie's Purse, 1980. LACMA, purchased with funds provided by the Modern and Contemporary Art Council in honor of Dagny Janss Corcoran
Bereal's Ronnie's Purse combines a purse (a gift from Miyashiro) with a bandaged bone crucifix and a "menacing dental cast." 

The modern galleries now have a representative selection of L.A. hard-edge painting, and a long-traveling show of light and space art from LACMA's collection opens Apr. 2. But the former required taking pop art off view, and the latter is temporary. That's one reason why it's useful to have ample space for the permanent collection. LACMA can present L.A. hard-edge, assemblage, and light and space as essential parts of the history of modernism. If it won't do that, what other big U.S. museum will?
Hard-edge abstractions by John McLaughlin and June Harwood. The Harwood, Blue, Violet, Green, about 1963, is a gift of the artist on view for the first time


Anonymous said…
> That's one reason why it's useful to have ample space
> for the permanent collection.

Why? Better to have lots and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows to see views of Wilshire Blvd and surrounding neighborhoods.

By contrast, Ma Yansong's Lucas will be dark and claustrophobic. So Peter Zumthor's building should be way more ideal for selfie-Instagram moments. LACMA's budget is also strongly in the black, so the museum is even more ahead of the game.

Moreover, Zumthor's design doesn't include a rooftop garden and walkways. Areas like those tend to cost way more money to keep properly maintained. LACMA's underpass should be less expensive to deal with. Although as a welcome sign to the neighborhood, the museum could set up homeless encampments under it.

Another thing: Large expanses of an amoeba-shaped roof do tend to be urban heat traps, but that just comes with the territory. LACMA can make up for that by organizing Green Earth art exhibits.
The LACMA Nevelson is lovely. Reminds me of a diptych. The right half nearly matches the left, but it is quarter-revolution-rotated.
The Met doesn't use the inelegant "Russian Empire" tag, instead referring to her as "(American (born Ukraine), Kiev 1899–1988 New York)."
One of her masterpieces, the gargantuan "Mrs. N's Palace", of 1964–77, is at the Met, a 1985 gift of the artist:
Anonymous said…
Maybe when the permanent collection building opens, the second floor or BCAM can be used to show more of LACMA's modern art collection.

I always found it weird that people are so hung up on the square footage of the new permanent collection building. It's estimated to be 110,000 sq ft. There's already 100,000 sq ft of exhibit space divided between BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion. You also have the Japanese Pavilion but I'm not sure how much exhibit space that has. Anyways, 210,000 square feet is A LOT of exhibition space, and that's not even including the outdoor areas.

I been to larger museums such as the Louvre and The Met, and the size of those buildings is way too overwhelming for most museum-goers. And LACMA doesn't have as impressive of collection as those museums. Could the new LACMA re-design be better? Yes, but it's not as catastrophic as some of you make it seems.

I perused the bibliography listings at the Met web site for Nevelson's "Mrs. N's Palace."
Among the listings is a write-up in The NY Times printed on March 18, 1985, Section C, Page 17 of the National edition with the headline: LOUISE NEVELSON GIVING 25 WORKS TO MUSEUMS.
LACMA is on the list! But I find no entry today on LACMA's web site under "Louise Nevelson" for a gift of the artist.
Did the gift never come to fruition? Or is this another case of LACMA having monetized its collection for easy cash? [See the On Fire entry of November 10, 2022 titled "Red Skelton's Judith Leyster, Sold by LACMA, Resurfaces in New Hampshire" for another work by a female master that LACMA shedded for the Benjamins.]
Does LACMA bother to check this site at all? If yes, you'd never know it.
Anonymous said…
> the second floor or BCAM can be used to show more of
> LACMA's modern art collection.

Govan and Zumthor presumably were aware of how the original buildings were chopped up, contained galleries on different floors and lacked an easy, continuous flow. Much less how the additions of the Broad and Resnick galleries, and the Price building before them, continued the "tract house" format set into motion by William Pereira in 1965.

Although Zumthor's blob will be more cohesive than the 3 (then 4---originally the Anderson) buildings of the main museum were, jumping across Wilshire Blvd makes no sense. More of the new structure's mass should be much closer, if not directly connected, to the Broad, Resnick and Price (Japanese) buildings.

But at least LACMA's budget is huge and the floor-to-ceiling windows help make up for the reduced square footage.
I don't know what happened to Nevelson's plan to give a work to LACMA. She did give Sky Cathedral to MOCA in 1985. Nevelson was also part donor (with Pace Gallery) of Winter Garden, and the Glimchers gave two smaller sculptures—all to MOCA.

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