Fall Arts Guide
The Broad: A Museum Grows in L.A.
It’s the most highly anticipated art event of the fall, and many familiar faces will be there: John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson.
They’ll all be on view at The Broad, a new contemporary art museum opening September 20 in downtown Los Angeles.
Designed by the New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the $140 million, 120,000-square-foot museum is named for Eli and Edythe Broad. It will house most of the couple’s nearly 2,000-piece collection of contemporary art as well as The Broad Art Foundation.
The Broads began seriously collecting art in the 1980s. For decades, the couple have loaned their art to museums around the world, but the opening will mark the first opportunity for the public to experience the full depth and scope of the collection in an architectural space that is itself a work of art.
“There’ll be artwork that the public hasn’t seen and even artwork that some art world observers haven’t associated with the collection because we’ve never had the chance to show it in this depth before,” says museum director Joanne Heyler.
Upon entering the museum, visitors will see a 105-foot escalator, piercing through the cavernous lobby to the top floor of the three-story building. Don’t look for a ticket booth; there isn’t one. Instead, Broad staffers with iPads will greet visitors to assist with timed admission tickets, which are free and also can be booked online.
“The notion of free general admission is really an extension of the Broads’ ongoing interest in increasing access to art for audiences,” Heyler says.
The inaugural installation begins on the third floor, an expansive space with natural light pouring in from skylights. Works of art on this floor will be displayed in chronological order, starting in the first gallery with 11 classic works by Andy Warhol from the 1960s. Other familiar paintings will include Ed Ruscha’s 1964 “Norms, La Cienega, on Fire,” Roy Lichtenstein’s 1965-66 “I …I’m Sorry,” Jasper Johns’ 1967 “Flag,” and a rich representation of Cy Twombly’s work. The second floor will feature works created after 2000.
Newer acquisitions will be unveiled, such as Robert Longo’s “Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014),” “The Visitors,” a nine-screen video piece by Ragnar Kjartansson, and Takashi Murakami’s 2014 “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,” an 82-foot-long, 10-foot-high painting that envelops the walls of a gallery.
The heart of any museum is the collection, but most institutions are able to show only a fraction of their holdings. Unlike other museums, The Broad has placed its storage area, referred to as “The Vault,” in the core of the museum. The design allows visitors a rare peek at the stored collection from the second floor, as well as from the central stairwell between floors.
Marcia Hafif: One Color at a Time
“Marcia Hafif: From the Inventory”
Through Sept. 27
Laguna Art Museum,
307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach
Marcia Hafif came of age as a painter at a time when painting had ceased to be in vogue. The movements that had energized art through much of the 1950s and 1960s had “worn themselves out,” as she remembers. “A lot of people were saying, ‘Painting is irrelevant – there’s no reason to paint any more.’ I thought no, I like to paint. I have to find a new way.”
She first found a new venue, moving from UC Irvine, where she completed her master’s degree in 1971, to New York City, where Hafif hoped painting would still matter. Minimalism had dampened that scene, too. Hafif responded by embarking on what would become decades of experimental searching – beginning, she says, by covering an entire sheet of paper with rows of short pencil marks, a technique she adapted to brush strokes.
At 86, Hafif divides her time between New York and Laguna Beach, where she spent her grade-school years and where her grown son Peter now resides. Fascinated by colors, Hafif finds inspiration by walking along the surf. “When the water recedes, there are colors in the sand, reflections,” she says. “In the winter, the sand goes away and you find these big rocks that were under the sand.” She photographs the sand, rocks and seaweed. “I don’t use the photographs directly – only in thinking about color.”
Having failed to devise “a really good way” of combining pigments on a canvas, Hafif opts to use one color at a time. Her monochrome paintings, filigreed with tiny strokes, produce a meditative feel that has earned her a growing international reputation. “From a distance, her paintings do look like each is a single color,” says Malcolm Warner, executive director of the Laguna Art Museum, which staged an exhibition of Hafif’s art in September. “But when you get closer, there’s much more going on – often one color laid over another. There’s much life on the surface of her paintings.” – David Ferrell
Young Chinese Artists”
Through Oct. 11
Orange County Museum of Art,
850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach
In recent years, the art world has shown a growing interest in works coming out of China, which makes OCMA’s “My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” more relevant than ever. Exhibition curator Barbara Pollack interviewed more than 100 artists from every region of China in preparation for the show, which features the work of more than two dozen painters, video artists, photographers and artist collectives. :: ocma.net
Sept. 13-March 20
LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
His name alone conjures images of glistening steel curves, clashing shapes and colorful forms. Frank Gehry has been celebrated as one of the most innovative and influential designers in the world. Inspired by such artists as Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, the 1989 Pritzker Prize winner has practiced architecture for more than six decades. He may be best known for his design of the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and, subsequently, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Boasting more than 60 models and 220 drawings, the retrospective at LACMA will feature an exhibition design by Gehry Partners. :: lacma.org
“Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art”
Sept. 19-Jan. 3
Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main Street, Santa Ana
When you think of bamboo, perhaps you just think of panda bears? But for the Japanese, bamboo has long been a quintessential part of the culture, shaping its social, artistic and spiritual landscape. Today, there are fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists in Japan. A “Modern Twist” features 17 Japanese artists, two of whom – Katsushiro Sōhō and Fujinuma Noboru – have been named Living National Treasures by the Japanese government. The work of these artists demonstrates how a simple grass can be transformed into a breathtaking sculptural art. :: bowers.org
Nov. 1-March 6
BCAM at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
“Rain Room” made front-page news in New York last year because of the five-hour waits in line to get into the Museum of Modern Art to see the installation. Created by the London collective Random International in 2012, the 1,000-square-foot “Rain Room” allows visitors to wander through streams of falling water – without getting drenched. Hoping to avoid lines, LACMA has opted for timed-entry tickets, which will go on sale to the public beginning Oct. 21 for $15 on top of the general admission fee to the museum. Twenty to 22 people can enter the gallery space. For those worried about water usage during California’s drought, LACMA assures us the 330 gallons of water in the installation comes from the museum’s clean water supply and is filtered as it circulates, then is recycled like a fountain. :: lacma.org
Sandow Birk: “American Quran”
Nov. 7-Feb. 28
Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach
Los Angeles-based painter Sandow Birk is known for art infused with social and political commentary. His travels through the Islamic world inspired his most recent work, “American Quran” Beginning in 2005, Birk translated and hand-transcribed the sacred book of Islam, then illustrated the verses with contemporary images of everyday life in America, in the style of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages but featuring calligraphy in the style of street art graffiti. Each of the 114 suras, measuring 16 by 24 inches, begins with the opening lines of the first sura, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” The exhibition of Birk’s nine-year project, organized by OCMA, features 200 ink and gouache works in the most comprehensive viewing since its completion in 2014