Of Note: Broadening the Local Arts Landscape

After much anticipation, one of the most impressive contemporary private art collections has gone public. The Broad opened its doors September 20, making The Broad Art Foundation, created by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the newest high-profile arts destination in Los Angeles


The Newest Show in Town
{Los Angeles} The Broad

After much anticipation, one of the most impressive contemporary private art collections has gone public. The Broad opened its doors September 20, making The Broad Art Foundation, created by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the newest high-profile arts destination in Los Angeles. With an inaugural installation that traces the most influential artists from the 1950s through the 1980s to the present day, works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger, Jeff Koons, and many others will be front and center. Present-day highlights include “Infinity Mirrored Room,” Yayoi Kusama’s dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display. This immersive, experiential work requires a separate timed ticket (at no additional charge), accommodating one visitor every 45 seconds.


A Whale of an Opera
{Los Angeles} Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Ahab, the wounded vengeful captain sailing the seas in pursuit of a mysterious white whale, leaps off the page and onto the stage in this operatic adaptation of the Herman Melville classic. Moby-Dick the Opera, which debuted in 2010, draws the audience deeper into Ahab’s madness as his voyage descends into more treacherous waters. Though critically panned when first published, the popularity of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick flourished in the 20th century. Making its way around the world, this notorious opera will perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Commissioned by the Dallas Opera, this LA Opera will be debuting nine new artists.

David Hockney at Bolton Abbey Yorkshire England 1997 (Jim McHugh 1997)

David Hockney 1996, Los Angeles © 1996 Jim McHugh



Portraits of the Artists at Work
{El Segundo} El Segundo Museum of Art

Founding sponsors of the El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA) Brian and Eva Sweeney, who also started the nonprofit artlab21 to aid young artists finding their way in the art world, have compiled an extensive collection of classic, modern, and contemporary art that reveals a direct line between the luminaries of old and younger artists of today. One of the museum’s running exhibitions is a unique, visual experience curated by Edward Goldman, host of KCRW’s “Art Talk.” Experience 19: TOUCH exhibits, in tandem with Jim McHugh’s photographs of the artists, selected artworks by the artists themselves, offering a rare, unorthodox look at art and the world of the artist in Los Angeles. Artists include Lita Albuquerque, John Baldessari, Mary Corse, Ed Ruscha, and Beatrice Wood. McHugh’s archives embrace nearly four decades of rare imagery chronicling Los Angeles and the artist at work. When the photographer asked longtime friend David Hockney if he would possibly loan some small artwork to go along with the photograph in the show, the artist instantly suggested a priceless painting, “The Photographer and His Daughter.” This ESMoA exhibit includes a series of never-before-seen candid images taken while Hockney created the portrait. Transdisciplinary, international, dynamic, and open are key elements of ESMoA’s DNA, while art experiences are its modus operandi, with installations of original work from contemporary artists and collectors.


The Qur’an, American Style
{Los Angeles} Hammer Museum

An ongoing series that pairs creative thinkers from a range of disciplines for engaging, provocative discussions on culture, science, and the arts, Hammer Conversations aim to present interesting viewpoints from Los Angeles and beyond. Each season is different as Director of Public Programs Claudia Bestor brings together a diverse and provocative range of voices. For instance, Sandow Birk and Reza Aslan will speak about American Qur’an, the book form of Sandow’s illustrated manuscript of the entire Koran, on December 3. Aslan (who contributed the preface to the book, which publishes in November) will interview Birk about the work and what he hopes it will accomplish. At a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations, the artist wanted to understand the Qur’an as it had always been intended: a universal message to humankind.

Other highlights for the fall series include actor, writer, musician Steve Martin and writer Adam Gopnik discussing the Canadian artist Lawren Harris and his exhibition, which Martin is curating (October 5); filmmaker Liz Goldwyn and author Susan Orlean examining 1890s Los Angeles during the “red light era” when prostitution was legal (October 13); and public-access TV host Alexyss K. Tylor and artist Frances Stark conversing on “Vagina Power,” a new paradigm of female expression (October 27).

Rain Room, Random International 2013, The Museum of modern Art, New York, NY (photo courtesy of Random International)

Rain Room, Random International 2013, The Museum of modern Art, New York, NY (photo courtesy of Random International)

Where Water Reigns Supreme
{Los Angeles} Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The ability to control rain – an enticing thought in parched Los Angeles – may seem a folly until you set foot in Random International’s Rain Room. Stepping into a room of continuous falling water that pauses wherever one is standing, visitors are spared drenching by what appears to be a magical phenomenon. The Rain Room’s use of science and technology to create this environment both challenges traditional views and opens the imagination to the endless possibilities of machinery.


Unwrapping Ancient Secrets
{Los Angeles} Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The world premiere of Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs, a rare selection of more than 20 mummies of diverse historic ages and backgrounds, provides detail into the vanished cultures originating in ancient Egypt and Peru. Richly decorated coffins, sarcophaguses, and mummification tools will be on display, as well as mummies of birds, crocodiles, and cats. An interactive exhibition allows visitors to “unwrap” layers of mummies to see the prized objects the bodies were buried with, as well as CT scanning and vivid details about these ancient individuals’ lives.


Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

Nuts for The Nutcracker
{Costa Mesa} Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The timeless tale of The Nutcracker has become an enduring symbol for the magic and wonder of the holiday season. Though the Tchaikovsky-composed ballet was not an immediate hit when it debuted in 1892, the work has steadily grown in popularity and today is one of the most performed ballets in the world. The American Ballet Theatre, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, brings the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” to life in Costa Mesa for an exclusive run this December. The production features choreography by Alexei Ratmansky and costumes by Richard Hudson. With 15 performances in 10 days, multiple leading cast members alternate playing the leading roles of Clara, the Princess and the Nutcracker. Among them, Alban Lendrof, most recently a principal dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, will be making his debut with the company. 


The Horrors of War, Captured by Ansel Adams
{Los Angeles} Skirball Center

Presented in association with the Japanese American National Museum, Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams offers a lesser-known dimension of the celebrated photographer’s body of work. Manzanar National Historic Site, located in Inyo County, was established to preserve the stories of the detention of nearly 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children interned during World War II. Images included in the exhibit were the subject of Adams’s controversial book Born Free and Equal, published in 1944.