Must-See Winter Museum Shows in LA
by Kelly Boyd
Norton Simon: Gaze: Portraiture after Ingres, through 4/5/10.
Reaching its greatest height in France under the rule of Napoleon III, portraiture had up until the late 1860s been characterized by Ingres’ fidelity to the face and emphasis on the patron’s prestigious social and moral standing. In “Gaze: Portraiture after Ingres”, the Norton Simon explores the avant-garde’s appropriation of the conventional genre and their subsequent subversion of it. Including works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani and Warhol, Gaze reveals the desire of artists from the mid 19th century to the modern day to engage in portraiture and capture their contemporary worlds without the expectations imposed by paying customers. The exhibition of nearly 150 paintings, sculpture and photographs from the museum’s collection demonstrates the triumph of technique over subject, and how this development served to enhance rather than detract from the genre itself.
Fans familiar with Renoir’s Impressionist work may be surprised by LACMA’s upcoming exhibition, “Renoir in the 20th Century.” The exhibition chronicles the last three decades of Renoir’s career, his break with Impressionism and adoption of a more decorative and classical style. His paintings from this period, which have never been comprehensively studied and displayed show an artist whose style evolved away from what could comfortably be considered part of the history of high modernism. Bridging the divide between art of the 19th and 20th centuries, Renoir has not been the focus of a solo exhibition since 1985. “Renoir in the 20th Century” sheds new light on an obscure period of an Impressionist master, and is well worth waiting until February for.
MOCA Pacific Design Center: Folly – The View from Nowhere, through 2/28/10
The folly, a freestanding structure with no defined purpose is an architectural genre that has interested scholars and architects for centuries. In “Folly – The View from Nowhere,” Los Angeles based architects Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena, partnered with curator Philipp Kaiser, offer an overview of these buildings in an installation unique to the venue. Ranging from the Pantheon at Stourhead to Lucy the Elephant in Margate, New Jersey, follies often quote historical ruins while misunderstanding or ignoring the symbolism of the original monuments. Escher GuneWardena’s installation explores this re-contextualization of form, and considers the new meaning ascribed to these architectural appropriations. The highlight of the show is the site-specific folly designed by Escher GuneWardena, which rises from the center of the gallery as a whimsical folly that truly warrants a trip to see it in person.
The Getty: In Focus: The Worker, through 3/21/10
Spanning history from the invention of the daguerreotype to contemporary photography, “In Focus: The Worker” illustrates the diversity of trades that have interested photographers. The more than 40 prints, taken from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s permanent collection include vocational photography, pictures of workers at work, photographs for social change and modern environmental portraits. Iconic images such as Paul Wolff’s Man with Pipe are included alongside lesser-known photographs, demonstrating the scope of the photographic history of working people. In times of economic uncertainty, it seems appropriate to remember and reflect on the hard work of the past, documented in this Getty Center exhibition.
The Getty Villa: Reconstructing Identities: A Statue of a God from Dresden: through 2/8/10
“Reconstructing Identities: A Statue of a God from Dresden” follows the history of a monumental Roman statue of a god from its 17th century discovery and restoration, 19th century restoration and the most recent efforts to restore it in 2007-2008 at the Getty Villa in Malibu. When the statue was first was first uncovered in the 1600s it was missing its head, right arms, and pieces of feet and drapery. Over the centuries, the sculpture’s identity has been reinterpreted extensively, with parts being restored and removed while the statue was variously called Alexander, Antinous in the guise of Bacchus and Bacchus himself. This exhibition, running until February eighth seeks to examine the different phases of restoration undergone by this object and explore the roles of collection, archaeology and aesthetics in the identification of art.
Filed under: contemporary art, education, Los Angeles, modern art, museums | 2 Comments
Tags: folly, Getty, Getty Villa, Ingres, LACMA, MOCA Pacific Design Center, Norton Simon, Renoir