Went to LACMA’s late Night Art event last night. They made very good use of the space between the Ahmanson and BCAM buildings, behind the Urban Light installation—a space I started to call the “crack in the Lac” with my friends. DJs pumping out the German techno and outdoor seating with bar created a very pleasant outdor hangout space. The best part though was behind the projection screen, where some LACMA staff (perhaps education staff? They always have the most fun) were there with art-making supplies for making puppets and photocopies of Franz West’s face for mask-making, and a mini installation of liquor bottles plastered a la Franz West (hidden treasures for sure).
The art was a bit difficult to see due to the crowds, and the readings in the galleries, which sometimes blocked the art from those of us who didn’t want to listen to the spoken word. Franz West was not for me (except as a cut-out puppet I made), but the Art of Two Germanys exhibition was quite impressive. It was huge though, and although the art was a bit depressing, you got the sense of something that must be important. Highlights included some great still photographs of performance events, including artists like Josef Beuys and Nam June Paik; and some monstrous Anselm Kieffer paintings. In one room, a chocolate sculpture by Dieter Roth proved how experiencing art through unexpected sensory information can make you take a second look (see object on left in image below). I had dismissed it on first glance, but then smelled chocolate and had to find the source of the smell. Those little terracotta monkeys are actually chocolate (and lions). One well-placed performance inside the gallery was a musician playing a leaden sounding composition on a double-bass in a room with a glasnost-era oil painting of Ronald Reagan looking skyward, and a red carpet leading away from him across the room.
Gallery installation shot of LACMA’s The Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures.