Sunday, November 26, 2006

making connections

while this weekend has mostly been full of good food and friends, I've also had a few deadlines looming this week which means I've had to sit in front of the laptop more hours than I would like. it also starts to make me feel loopy after a while and my mind begins to wander. case in point: yesterday's visit to lacma to see the magritte exhibit. I dragged chris to the museum, and he was clearly dismayed by the lines, the prices, the crowds, and the screaming children, so I have to give him credit for his patience and perseverance. (note to parents: sure, we applaud your attempt to expose the kids to "high culture" but leave the screaming babies at home. same goes for the kids who lay sprawled out on the floor of the exhibition).

I've been mulling over how I feel about the exhibit. I've never been a huge fan of magritte, but then again, I was never as familiar with him as I was with surrealists like dali, de chirico, miro and man ray. I think I gave him short shrift - he was far more clever, more highly conceptual, less interested in freud than many of his contemporaries (all pluses in my book).

I loved the exhibition design by baldessari. let's just get that out of the way. its site-specific, smart, and absurd in a way I think magritte would have loved. I loved the idea of relating magritte to the conceptual artists of the 60s and 70s (and 80s and 90s too, for that matter). the concept resonates for me - drawing direct lines between magritte and bochner, ruscha and baldessari. I think where the exhibit failed for me is in execution. not all the time - sometimes it worked exceeding well. especially in the case of ruscha (especially Actual Size and Lion in Oil) and magritte - not exactly an obvious pairing. (on a side note, I developed a crush on ed ruscha's work at his lacma show last summer. I' m happy to report it 's blossoming into a full-blown love affair.)
Actual Size, Ed Ruscha, 1962

but in too many cases, it felt like the curators were far too literal in their attempt to connect more modern artists to Magritte. case in point: Koon's Train and Magritte's Time Transfixed.

Rene Magritte, Time Transfixed, 1938

Jeff Koons, Jim Beam J.B. Turner Train, 1986

Ok, so they both feature trains. other than that, its sort of difficult to discern the connection between the two pieces. Particularly since Koons modeled his train not as an homage to magritte but to scotch. the connection is tenuous at best. the inclusion of Koon's Bunny is a little easier to stomach. after all, the subtitle to the exhibit is "the treachery of images" and Bunny captures that - it looks weightless but its made from stainless steel. Even Koon's outsized sculptures like Balloon Dog or Moon would make more sense here - and connect to magritte's tendency to play with size and scale in his work to evoke the "uncanny" (yes, it must always come back to freud one way or another).

despite my misgivings, its a fun exhibit (is it ok to describe Art-with-a-capital-A as fun?). its also not traveling - making it just that much more special. it belongs to LA.

I had also wanted to write in this post about Pandora, since that service is also about uncovering non-obvious connections and I've been using it all weekend instead of my ipod. but now I'm too tired from thinking about magritte. maybe I'll write about that in another post, although aram will probably bitch if I write about it here, rather than on the company blog. so I'll save it for another day.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

weekend on the eastside, sorta

it feels like a long time since I had an architecture-related weekend, but this weekend was fairly full. I did my docent duties saturday morning at the schindler house, including a class of about 30 student from pcc. I love student tours. I find high schoolers are generally a little less enthusiastic, but the college students almost always dig the tour. plus, I'm a pretentious blowhard who loves to hear herself talk, so I enjoy the student tours. it feels like I'm teaching again. and speaking of, it looks like I'm going to be back on USC's campus come spring to teach an undergrad course there on virtual communities.

but getting back to the weekend, josh and I spent some quality Curbed time together. on thurs we hit the Coalition for Clean Air eco-fashion benefit (I decided against wearing a leather shirt AND leather boots. went with just the boots. is that still too un-pc? they're louboutin but I found them at a consignment shop. doesn't that count as smart recycling?). anyway, you have not lived until you've seen councilpersons ed reyes and janice hahn modeling environmentally-friendly fashion. H-O-T-T. the playstation3 launch party was almost anti-climactic after that. Almost. While I got to see janice hahn save snakes, cows and furry animals from becoming Anna Wintour's latest accessory, I also got to see Dave Navarro murder Iggy Pop. Or at least his music. but again, I digress from the architecture stuff.

so yesterday josh, john and jack and I (yup, token female. token hetero. token name-that-does-not-begin-with-J) headed east to the Arroyo Arts Collective discovery tour - a self-guided tour of artists' homes and studios, mostly in highland park. most of the homes were turn of the century craftsman. since I haven't been on craftsman tours, I didn't pay much attention to the artists' work, and instead enjoyed the homes. a few even managed to feel very light and airy, despite all the dark wood, entire walls of glass-enclosed wood built ins, and relatively low ceilings. The tour ended with a reception at the Lummis House, which I'm ashamed to say, I had never even heard of until yesterday. I really must get farther east than the 5 more often.

oh, and casino royale was pretty good. I have a crush on daniel craig and his mankini now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

what to wear?

tonight is a perplexing one due to double booking. I usually dont have a problem deciding what to wear in LA, since jeans are pretty much acceptable everywhere, as long as they're sold in barneys.

but tonight is a tough one: a coalition for clean air benefit AND a playstation launch party. hmm. the reason josh and I agreed to the clean air benefit isn't really bc we believe in clean air (who doesn't?). its because we relish the opportunity to possibly see jeffrey sebelia AND jan perry at the same party. please, please let that happen. project runway and politics - perfect together.

and then playstation. what says I love the environment AND I heart video games? josh is threatening to wear fur (what? its biodegradable!) and I threatened to wear entirely synthetic fabrics that are highly flammable, wrapped in leather. because we love eco-fashion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I spend all my time with old people

back in LA after a week in nyc. my father is recovering well from his surgery, albeit slowly. the week was hectic and I didn't get to do very much other than speak at a conference, and help care for my father. while I was there, I did have one afternoon free between the conference and taking my sister to dinner for her birthday (which was really excellent). so I managed to visit the morgan library since renzo piano's expansion. piano is one of my favorite architects - sure, he seems to be the go-to guy for any and all museum projects these days (LACMA, nasher, whitney), but his work is always elegant, classically beautiful, refined. he's the little black dress of architects. and his ability to marry diverse forms and buildings at the morgan library, gives me hope for the LACMA project.

but back to the title of this post. I've realized that because I have a somewhat flexible schedule, I wind up with a schedule similar to retirees. when I went to early voting, I was the youngest in the room by 30 years. same at the morgan library in the middle of a wednesday afternoon. ditto for trader joe's at 11am. pretty soon you'll see me at bingo night at the local rotary club. or making reservations for the early bird special at a sizzlin' steakhouse. or driving around 20 mph with my left blinker on for miles.

just a reminder of all the things I need to accomplish before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I voted

so I stopped into beverly hills town hall to vote early today since I'll be out of town next week during election day. early voting is a godsend - we never had it in ny. its just me and a half dozen retirees voting. the difference between the blue hairs and I (me?, myself? I'm stumped by the grammar) is, I had downloaded to my blackberry the california democratic party recommendations for the propositions, since I needed a cheat sheet. I had already made up my mind on 87 and 90, but the rest had me a little mystified, so I needed some guidance.

I leave for ny on sat, to help out with my father's recovery and to speak at a conference. sadly, I dont think that leaves much time to catch up with friends, shop, or hit my favorite museums in ny. I'll have to save that for the christmas-time trip I'll probably make. I do have one night carved out to take my sister to dinner for her 25th birthday. the rest is up in the air.

so its unlikely I'll have any interesting architecture-related blogging going on while in ny. while I'm gone, make sure you vote. apathy is so 2002 midterm election.