Friday, November 23, 2007


Los Angeles County Museum of Art-Probably my favorite, most likely since my brother lives at Redondo Beach and I’m in the area periodically, so get to experience this top flight museum on a repeated basis. A really good museum is a continuing source of amusement and illumination. For example, I’d never been into the Americana style much, until I saw a full size Thomas Hart Benton and immediately...false distinctions disappeared and a sense of wonder filtered through.

I think it is that type of experience that helps us to maintain an open-eyed, child-like view of the world and keeps things interesting. I'm reminded of the first time my kids saw a work (in the LACMA again) that really shocked and impressed them. After being herded through every museum I could find on our travels and them more or less trying to appreciate (in a slack-jawed , glassy eyed kind of way) what they were seeing, their reaction to Bill Viola’s ‘Slowly Turning Narrative’ was deeply satisfying as I could see that all the time and effort had not been wasted. They spoke about the piece for days afterwards and have gladly gone without complaint on every museum jaunt since.

Slowly Turing Narrative, description from the web site: A large screen mounted on a floor-to-ceiling shaft is constantly rotating at the center of the room. An image of the artist's face in black-and-white is projected from one side, accompanied by a voice reciting a long list of individual states of being and actions in a repetitive, rhythmic chant. Color images of childhood memories, accidents, and medical operations are projected from the other side, with accompanying sounds. One side of the screen is mirrored, and it reflects the viewer's own image as well as the projected images which travel across the walls of the room as the screen turns, creating a swirling vortex of images in the space

Brendan and Kerry: in the garden on the way to the Japanese pavilion. On this visit they were showing Japanese ‘imaginings’ of the tiger. This collection of yamato-e (scroll style) paintings were done in the mid 1800s. What made this showing remarkable was that at the time, the Japanese had never seen one of these creatures live, they only knew them through their skins. They knew tigers were large, ferocious creatures but had to fill in the rest. So, all of the depictions are unique, capturing on the one hand an essence of the tiger and on the other this mythic imagining of what the tiger is…fascinating.


CS said...

That's a fantastic building. It always pleases me when I take the kids to a museum and they really like it. I think sometimes we just assume kids won't appreciate things liek that, and so miss many good opportunitites for them.

kevin said...

cs-I agree, but if you keep on trying, sometimes it works. I used to take them to the symphony as an extra special treat/torture and the secret there was to attend the pre-concert lecture. The lecture provided a context with which to listen and made a big difference in their ability to enjoy the event.

Mark said...

I have never been there, however it sounds wonderful. Your childern will look back on these adventures with fond memories. You are doing a great thing for them!

kevin said...

mark-Yes, they will probably look back with fond memories, when they're 30 or so.

kevin said...

Sr. CresceNet:

I...uh...agree...but, no blogroll for you!