Welcome to Los Angeles

Monday, November 21st – Wednesday, November 23rd

I spent a busy couple of weeks in Los Angeles.  I checked out a large amount of art, so that’s going to be the majority of pictures but I also managed to take my scooter down the beach for Thanksgiving and eat and drink my way through Atwater Village.

Bridge over LA River with bonus: water!

Pretty much every activity I’m going to talk about was recommended by my good friend and prior LA resident Anne Elisabeth.  This includes where I stayed, which is the fun little neighborhood of Atwater Village.

LA River near Atwater Village

The first night there I just walked around, finding my way over to the river, flowing strongly from the previous days rain.  I eventually wandered up to one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.  In the time I was there I did everything from hang out with the hipsters in the Paul Bunyan themed Bigfoot Lodge to have a great evening in the friendly crowd at The Griffin.  At one restaurant I watched a man wearing sunglasses in the dark interior cleverly figure out he could use his cell phone camera to read the menu, and I spent a rainy afternoon in one of my favorite spots, Village Tavern, watching the Buckeyes squeak out a win against Michigan.  My lodging had no kitchen, so I was back to every dinner out on the town and I pretty much ate my way through the area.

I let myself have one evening to explore the area and then the next day was off to a show I was super excited about: the Armory Center for the Arts had put together a show of artists who spent some time reading Octavia E. Butler’s papers at the nearby Huntington Library and then created work based on her writings and her life.  I’m a huge Butler fan and so skipped merrily through the doors, past the bored but fortunately easily amused attendant, and took a look at Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler.

“and it was a natural extension of my dreaming” by Lauren Halsey, 2016.
Untitled from “Commonplace Drawings” by by Laylah Ali.
Untitled from “Commonplace Drawings” by Laylah Ali.

The Butler show was lots of fun, I always enjoy seeing what other folks take from her works.  Upstairs was a different show, this one featuring works by Harry Dodge, a lot of which was discussing similar themes.  Great pairing.

“Black Hole with Meaties” in “The Inner Reality of Ultra-Intelligent Life” by Harry Dodge.
Still from a video by Harry Dodge.

The video was lots of fun and a good reminder that, statistically speaking, humans are doomed.

The next day I headed out to see “Dark Visions: Mid-Century Macabre” an exhibit at the Norton Simon Museum.  The exhibit was interesting but small and the rest of the museum was full of way more art than I expected.

“Studies in Desperation: Now the Act is Consummated” by Connor Everts. Part of the “Dark Visions: Mid-Century Macabre” show.
“King and Queen” by Henry Moore. One of my favorites although I only saw part of the sculpture garden as the recent rains had closed a chunk of it.

One of the temporary shows was a bunch of Picasso lithographs.  Reading about and then seeing many examples of how he transformed his prints from one to another was a lot of fun.

“Paloma and Her Doll, White Background” by Picasso, December 14th, 1952.
“Paloma and Her Doll on Black Background” by Picasso, December 14th, 1952.
“David and Bathsheba (after Lucas Cranach the Elder)” by Picasso, March 30th, 1947.
“David and Bathsheba (after Lucas Cranach the Elder)” by Picasso, May 29th, 1949.
“Assembly of Sea Forms” by Barbara Hepworth.

A few bits of sculpture tucked away!

Three Angel Musicians from the Pisan School, ~1350 – 1400 AD.
“The Pitch Pine Room” by Edouard Vuillard.

I kept coming back to this painting.

Flower Tree from the parking lot, like they do here in Southern California.

I headed home as the sun set, weaving through the heavy rush hour traffic and visiting whichever restaurant or bar I explored that night (probably the not very good wood fired pizza.  Fun bar, though).  The next day was Thanksgiving, which means the next post will start with a day at the beach!