It’s Friday, I’m hungry and I’m thinking about omurice. Am Caroline A. mirandaart and design columnist at the Los Angeles Times, and I’m here with all the essential art news, and dirty tree literature:
At the end of January, the Orange County Museum of Art closed for a few weeks to work on building their new morphosis-designed building, which had been opened to the public in October despite being incomplete. At the time, I wrote about the mess: glued molding, lopsided custom tile, boards instead of steel, and lopsided atrium ceiling panels that still had the contractor’s handwritten notes on them. Earlier this month, I took another look at the finished product.
Bottom line: it’s better, but not great.
Although all the final materials have been installed and everything shines under a fresh coat of paint, the finishes are still very sketchy. In many places, the moldings do not line up completely. As I was walking up the main stairs, I noticed a blob of caulk poking out from behind one of the building’s custom terracotta tiles. $94 million doesn’t buy you what before.
It’s easy to turn on contractors. But the contractors did not design this overloaded building, nor did they commission it. That falls to Culver City. morphosisdirected by thom mayneand the museum board, which was headed by david emmes ii when Mayne was first announced as the architect of record in 2008.
Why, exactly, the museum administrators thought that a modestly budgeted institution like OCMA needed such an intricate design is more than puzzling. (At the time it was brought into Morphosis, OCMA’s annual operating budget was about $4.8 million; it currently stands at about $8.5 million. For comparison, the Hammer Museum, which is nearing featuring an expansion designed by Michael Maltzan, it has a budgeted operating budget of around $29 million.)
The whole project emerges as a room full of trustees who get too excited to rub shoulders with a star architect and not enough to consider the real needs of the institution.
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Aesthetic mishaps are a problem, but the biggest problems for me are the ways in which this building serves the art it was intended to house. As I noted in my last piece, the galleries on the ground floor lack definition, and those on the second floor occupy, respectively, a corridor and an oddly shaped mezzanine.
But hey, the beautiful roof deck will be great for galas. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Instagram.
Inside and outside the galleries
simone fortiThe Los Angeles-based artist known for her democratic approach to dance and movement pieces rooted in action vernacular, is the subject of a survey by a woman in big MOCA. This concise exhibition, curated by cardigan lowery and alex sloanewith jason under hillIt has moments that mesmerize and others that literally move the viewer into action, writes the art critic of The Times. christopher knight.
If you haven’t already, of course, read catherine wagley‘s Forty’s profile in momo. As the choreographer Yvonne Rainer once wrote, Forti was an artist who brought “the divine image of the dancer to a human scale.”
Knight has been circling the desert to check desert x 2023, the fourth edition of the Coachella Valley Biennial curated by Neville Wakefield and diana campbell. Of the current iteration, which he describes as “an otherwise bland affair,” Knight focuses on matt johnsonthe huge sculpture of “Sleeping Figure”, which creates the profile of a figure resting outside of the cargo containers. “Of the 59 commissions produced since the series launched in 2017,” he writes, “Johnson’s sculpture ranks among the best.”
In addition, Wagley also has a profile of betye sarre in it boston globelinked to his current exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – which compares Saar’s travelogues with the founder of the museum.
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This is a fantasy job I want: curator of movie sets. Taxpayer emily zemler writes about how the Italian art curator leonardo bigazzi works lent and commissioned for vasilis “Inside” by Katsoupis in which willem dafoe he plays an art thief trapped inside the home of a wealthy collector. (This would make a great parlor game: Which wealthy collector’s house would you like to get trapped in?)
On and off stage
richard gilmantheater critic writes charles mcnulty, “created a space in American culture for serious dramatic criticism, aimed not at academic specialists or eager cultural consumers, but at educated readers hungry for a deeper aesthetic engagement with the theater.” Now Gilman is at the heart of a book of warts and all, “The Critic’s Daughter: A Memoir”, for his daughter Priscilla Gilman. In a story involving a very ugly divorce and fetish anecdotes, McNulty writes about “if it’s possible to separate criticism from criticism.”
metropolitan columnist Erika D Smith caught a performance from Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 as part of a Dark night in it Mark Taper Forum. The play, about the troubled conditions leading up to the 1992 uprising, was originally conceived and performed by Anna Deavere-Smith. Now it is performed with a cast of five, in a production directed by greg daniel. First released in 1993, “Twilight” suggested “a way forward” for Los Angeles, Smith writes, in an intelligent and candid assessment. But he worries that “all these years later, audiences are too tired, too jaded, or maybe too overwhelmed to look through it and see the people on the other side.”
the prodigal Zubin Mehta returned to lead the LA Phil in disney roomin a performance of Mahler Symphony No. 3. Times classical music critic mark in swedish reports that, at 86, Mehta’s movements are much more moderate; sometimes imperceptible. But the sound he gets from the orchestra remains singular and bold: “The cheering at the end was like at a rock concert.”
what i’m reading
This week, the New Yorker dropped a great piece in H.G. Carrilloa novelist whose Cuban identity it ended up being a fiction, along with countless other details of his life. actually born Hermann Glenn Carroll in Detroit. Two years ago, our art editor Paula Mejia (who had not yet joined The Times at the time) wrote about the hoax in Rolling Stone. The fact that she is a former student (Latina!) of Hache‘s, his nickname, was particularly moving. And so are his investigations into why assuming the mantle of Afro-Latino identity may have been so easy to do within the context of American society. A must read.
Fujima KansumaA master kabuki dancer who taught the form to generations of Japanese Americans and who during World War II was confined in US incarceration camps where she continued to teach, died at the age of 104.
Designer Rolly Crumpwho helped give Disneyland attractions like It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion their indelible look, has died at 93.
Phyllida Barlowa sculptor who infused monumental sculpture with vernacular materials and a sense of the ephemeral, has died at 78. Christopher Knight wrote of his impressive show at Hauser & Wirth a year ago: “You’ve never seen anything like it, or maybe you have, which is part of the charm of it. Barlow draws from a variety of established art forms, blends them with his own peculiar sense of invention, then seems to drop them into an industrial-strength blender to produce sculptures of grandiose and enlivening ambition.”
In other news
Oh, that story about The worst list of works of art in the world It’s the gift that keeps on giving. art net concluded that was put by the artist tom sachs and Gagosian director Sarah Hoover. Now katy schneider and Adriana Quinlan in Curbed go all in What is it like to work in the Sachs studio?. In a word: yikes!
— It’s not all single-family homes and suburban sprawl: francis anderton delves into the history of the Los Angeles apartment in a new book. greg goldin reviews.
Also, I’m here to mimi zeiger‘s assume by Frank Gehry big LA
— Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright is not having he eric owen moss compound that has sprouted in Culver City’s Hayden’s tract — from design to environmental cost.
– All Silicon Valley layoffs and office closures are a bonanza for used furniture market.
— New angle: voice, a podcast which explores the lives and careers of women architects, has a great new episode in Ray Eames. ICYMI, don’t overlook the episode of helen fongwho helped form Googie’s look in Los Angeles.
— Kehinde Wiley is about to open a large solo show at De Young in San Francisco that is inspired by the toll of systemic violence on Black people. Dionne Searcey of the New York Times look at how this and other shows are making space for pain.
And last but not least…
Adding to my reading list: “Cultus Arborum: A Descriptive Account of the Worship of the Phallic Tree.”