When I went to Los Angeles this past November my dear friend J and I took the big city by surprise. We decided to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Ghetty Museum—all in one weekend.
First off—MOCA (Grand Avenue)
I am not a big fan of contemporary art. I will admit that. So this probably is not a fair review of this museum. The museum is just a few blocks away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. As we walked in, we veered to the right and began our experience.
Given that J is also a cynic about modern art, we made a lot of jokes. The first exhibit we saw was by Cosima Von Bonin. Quoting MOCA, they describe Von Bonin as:
“One of the most influential and compelling artists working in Germany today, Cologne-based artist Cosima von Bonin (b. 1962, Mombasa, Kenya) has, over the last 15 years, worked in a wide range of media—including sculpture, photography, textile “paintings,” installation, performance, film, video, and music—often combined together in large-scale installations. Drawing freely from a broad range of sources—such as the work of other artists, popular and vernacular culture, television, fashion, and Hip-Hop and Techno music—her art explores these different forms of cultural expression in an open, fluid approach that embraces both relationships and contradictions.”
We also saw the works of Gordon Matta-Clark. MOCA describes him as “Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure is a full-scale retrospective of one of the key figures to emerge in the generation of artists that followed minimalism. During the brief but highly productive ten years that he worked as an artist, and even more so since his death at the age of 35, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–78) has exerted a powerful fascination on artists and architects who know his work.”
Honestly, the one piece J and I liked the most were these photos taken of the electric plug at the museum. Let me describe it to you—there was this hallway with nothing on the walls. The floor was made of this plastic resembling a Lego. And in one of the walls there was an electric plug. So they took a picture of that, and then they took another picture of the same thing and they made an effect like you were looking into one of those mirrors were the image was shown repeatedly over and over, but here they only did it twice. Anyways, it was interesting to look at.
Like I said, I am not a big fan of modern art, but the one thing that I realized at MOCA is that beauty is everywhere. Even in the things that we don’t think are beautiful, there is a mysterious beauty in that. So it is up to us to really discover that beauty in our surroundings.
250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Second stop: The Getty…
Now, the Getty Museum is located up on a hill next to the 405 highway that overlooks pretty much the whole city. On a clear day, the views are spectacular. On foggy day, like the day that we went, well, I was lucky to see J next to me. The fog was so thick…but I loved it regardless. The outside of the museum is just stunning to look at. Parking is at the bottom of the hill and you take a train that takes you to the entrance. Surrounding all the different buildings of the museum are a gorgeous array of gardens. This place is truly romantic. Perfect date place…
We saw two travelling exhibits at the Getty. The first one was “Medieval Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art”. The first thing that surprised me was that the Cleveland Museum of Art had such an extensive medieval collection, the second thing that surprised me was how comprehensive the collection actually was. This collection is actually renowned for its early Christian, Byzantine and medieval European art. It includes rare examples of decorative works of gold and silver, armor carved ivories, enamels, sculpture, paintings, and illuminated manuscripts from the third through the sixteenth centuries. The collection is organized by time periods and it is well explained. So even if you don’t purchase the audio tour headphones, you can still follow it. J and I were truly surprised and taken aback by this collection. It was impressive!!!
The second exhibit was a photography exhibit. I have this love for photography that it is all bottled up inside of me, and I’m sure one day it will come out. For now, I like to go see photo exhibits. Two photographers were showing their work. Edward Weston and Luc Delahaye.
Edward Weston was born in outside of Chicago in 1886. He lived a significant portion of his life Glendale (outside of LA). He embarked on an independent career in photography and became a very influential photographer to some of the greats like Ansel Adams. Many of his pictures were exhibited and he had a unique approach to angles.
The other photographer (and the one J and I really wanted to see) was Luc Delahaye. He is a photojournalist working for magazines such as Newsweek. Delahaye has photographed some of the most important events in recent history. I must say his exhibit was too small, but still delightful. All the prints were large and just told the story without even having to know the situation. My favorite piece was the “Registration of Internally Displaced People in Eastern Chad”. The image was taken in 2007 and it is 281.9 x 137 cm. The contrast between the dresses of the ladies and their skins and the facial expressions of pain in their faces it is just mind bottling. You can see their story without them talking to you. Truly inspirational. Loved it completely!!!
For a look at the exhibit please follow this link.
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049
And so, in a city of Angels that so many like to judge as superficial in nature, there are many non superficial things to do. That is the thing about LA, in all its grandeur and monstrosity, there is something for everyone. And I mean everyone.