Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Over the holiday break (which lasted approximately 11 days for me, not counting a few hours here and there of proof checks), I had the chance to check out three museum exhibitions that I've been wanting to see for a while.

The first I took care of while visiting family and friends in the South Bay and OC. "The Birth of Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury" at the Orange County Museum of Art was a nicely composed exhibition of midcentury modern furniture, paintings, objects and music. As I entered, the first room had Charles and Ray Eames' film, "Tops," projected onto the entire wall. The music was very hep. The next part of the exhibition gave some historical context. I really liked the signage and organization of this portion, which consisted of items and flat screens showing film clips, mounted on the wall with a cool blue band of paint behind them. The rest of the exhibit was heavy on the Eames' (rightfully so) and Julius Shulman's photography. (Note to self: Must see his exhibition at the Central Library before that closes on January 20)

The next two exhibitions I saw on New Year's Eve day: "© MURAKAMI" at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary and "Dali: Painting and Film" at LACMA. I really enjoyed both and it was interesting to see how Dali really made it possible for artists such as Takashi Murakami to create the kind of art that they do.

Initially, K & I didn't intend to see the Murakami exhibition, but we had some spare time before our 3pm Dali tickets and a little extra zip from our Intelligentsia buzz, so we went for it. I had seen some of Murakami's work in the "Ecstasy" exhibition a couple of years back, but this was definitely more an in-depth exploration of all aspects of his art. My favorite part was watching the Kaikai and Kiki movie preview. It was so adorable and weird that it made me feel very happy and young inside.

While we were able to take in the MOCA exhibition at a leisurely pace, we had no such luck at the Dali one, which is unfortunate because there was such a wealth of beautiful painting sand films that I could have stayed much longer. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes to get in, we were greeted with a slow-moving line that snaked along the wall of the first room. After waiting in that line for 10 minutes and moving only 10 feet, we decided to walk along the back of it, forsaking an up-close look at the first dozen paintings. After the bottleneck in the first room, it was smoother sailing and we were able to appreciate the rest of the exhibition up close. While I enjoyed the screenings of various Dali collaborations (in particular, Luis Bunuel's "Un Chien Andalou"), the highlight for me was seeing the actual paintings. The colors that he used were so vivid, especially when he paired warm and cool colors, and that definitely gets lost when you just see a poster of one of his works. Actually, with many paintings, a book or poster print usually does not do it justice. For example, when I saw Tamara Lempicka's "Jeune fille en vert" at the 2004 Art Deco exhibition at the San Francisco Legion of Honor, I felt the same way.

In any event, I would recommend seeing all three of these exhibitions. Unfortunately, the OCMA and LACMA ones close this Sunday(!) Luckily, you still have until February for the MOCA one. If you go, be sure to add to this piece of impromptu public art:

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