Museums and Cultural Institutions

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May 17th at LACMA

We had a very good last day on Saturday, May 17th, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Education docent Jen Reid took us around on an informative tour of a few installations: we saw Metropolis and talked about what it made us think about, past and present.  It was especially interesting to be in the gallery just as Metropolis “fired up” for its first run of the morning.  We saw the installation by Richard Serra, and we walked out to see Michael Heizer’s “Levitating Mass.”  We spoke about the artist’s search for the perfect rock to “levitate,” and we talked of the surrounding landscape devoted to the piece and its installation.  From there we went to see Helen Pashgian’s light installation in one of the galleries, which was quite a contrast to Heizer’s 340 ton rock installed in the outdoors.  We then all walked across the street to the line-up of about a half dozen food trucks — took our food back to the LACMA plaza and enjoyed lunch and chatting.  Then we met with Britt Salvesen, LACMA’s head of the Department of Photography and the Department of Prints and Drawings.  Britt gave us a guided tour of a small, beautiful show on the photography of John Divola.  What was great about this tour was that Britt started with the conversation she had with the photographer –four years earlier– and then took us through each step and stage of imagining, designing, and installing a show.  It was fascinating, and we all learned a great deal about the ins and outs of imagining and then executing a show.  We especially liked Divola’s “As Far as I Could Get”  series, in which he sets up a camera on a tripod with a timer.  He trips the timer and then starts running.  Ten seconds later, a picture is taken, showing Divola in the middle of the frame and “as far as he could get” away.

We ended our day with a short meeting, the delivery of some beautiful books to each student and teacher, and goodbyes.  Our friend and colleague Alina Beruff from the YES Program demanded that the students keep in touch LASA (and one another) and that they tell us about their next steps, visit us, write us — “LASA has given you a gift,” she said, “and now you have to repay it by keeping in contact.”  Thank you, Alina.  Thank you, all.