Category: Autry National Center

Monster Mash: Autry president to retire; Einstein's theory of relativity goes public; LuPone's ballet debut

March 9, 2010 |  8:54 am

Getprev-12 --Bidding farewell: John L. Gray, president of the Autry National Center of the American West, will announce his retirement today. (Los Angeles Times)

--Scientific treasure: The original 46-page manuscript of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity will go on public display for the first time in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)

-Money woes: Photographer Annie Leibovitz reportedly is turning to a private equity firm for loans to help address her financial troubles. (Financial Times)

--Song and dance: Patti LuPone will make her debut -- in a singing role -- with the New York City Ballet in Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "The Seven Deadly Sins" in the spring 2011 season. (New York Times)

--Bound for Texas: The late writer David Foster Wallace's papers have been acquired by the University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Center, which also possesses the archives of authors Norman Mailer and Don DeLillo. (Austin American Statesman)

--Box-office bounce: Less than two months after it opened, the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's “A View From the Bridge,” starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson, has recouped its initial investment, the show's producers say. (New York Times)

--Box-office blues: In New Jersey, the American Repertory Ballet cancels the rest of its season while the 12 Miles West Theatre Company suspends operations. (Star Ledger)

--Old faithful: The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History--the most popular museum in the country--is preparing to celebrate its centennial. (Washington Post)

--Master builder: Architect Bruce Graham, who designed Chicago's Willis Tower (originally known as the Sears Tower) and the John Hancock Center, has died at 84 in Hobe Sound, Fla. (Chicago Tribune)

Also in the L.A. Times: Columnist Patrick Goldstein on the layoffs of Variety's chief theater and film critics; Josef Woodard reviews the Los Angeles Master Chorale's performance of Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

--Karen Wada

Photo: Albert Einstein in 1938. Credit: AFP/Getty Images


 

President of the Autry museums to retire

March 8, 2010 |  7:05 pm

Gray  The president of the Autry National Center of the American West, John L. Gray, is retiring from the job he has held for 11 years.

Gray has presided over an era of many changes for the Autry, including its merger with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in 2003.  

A former federal administrator and bank executive, Gray said one of his attractions to the Autry's collection was that  "the museum had the potential to look at people’s identity, how they could see themselves as Westerners and to help them learn through history."

Gray’s tenure was often fraught with conflict about the Southwest Museum, which struggled to support itself as an independent institution. He views the merger as a success. For the complete story on Gray's retirement, click here.  

 

Above: John L. Gray and Linda Strauss of the umbrella Autry National Center, inspect the Southwest Museum's textile collection in 2005 Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

A hefty fundraiser for the Autry Center and a party for a puppet

February 12, 2010 |  5:56 pm

Painting The “Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale” brought a total of $3.8 million, including $3 million in art sales, to the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. While the net hasn’t yet been calculated, organizers say the museum earns an average of $1.1 million each year between tickets for opening weekend festivities and a portion of the art sales.   

Many collectors of western art come to Los Angeles especially for the sale, not so surprisingly in cowboy hats and traditional western get-ups.  Jackie Autry, widow of “singing cowboy” Gene, was on hand to greet guests at a cocktail party to launch the exhibition and sale, which continues until March 7.

 "The Sound of a Distant Bugle" by Howard Terpning (pictured with his painting) sold for more than $1 million in the silent auction.

In Santa Monica, third generation puppeteer Basil Twist joined patrons of the Broad Stage at Fraiche Restaurant to celebrate the opening night of his puppet show, “Petrushka.” Originally commissioned by N.Y.’s Lincoln Center, the production featured nine hidden puppeteers animating the three characters caught in a classic love triangle, as twin Russian pianists Julia and Irina Elkina played Stravinsky’s music.   

Look for the more about these events here and in “Scene & Heard” in Sunday’s Image section.

-- Ellen Olivier 

Photo credit: Jamie Pham / Autry National Center.

Southwest Museum gift shop to close; was the last section still regularly open to the public

December 17, 2009 |  1:45 pm

Swmuseum The only part of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian regularly open to the public -- the museum store that had weekend hours only -- will close next month when its space is taken over by a conservation project.

The decision by the Autry National Center of the American West, which runs both the Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington and the larger Museum of the American West in Griffith Park, to virtually suspend public operations for an estimated three years immediately inflamed the already heated suspicions of some Southwest Museum supporters. 

The Autry critics, including Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, fear that the Southwest is being relegated to a minor role, if not being written off entirely as a site for displaying a prized collection of almost 300,000 Native American artworks and artifacts.

“I’m very disappointed,” Huizar said Wednesday. “It’s actually confirming our suspicions that they had no intent to make this a viable destination” for museum-goers.

But Autry spokeswoman Joan Cumming said long-range plans remain unchanged. They call for revitalizing the Southwest Museum as a “multiple-use” facility that would include space for educational programs and community events, as well as galleries that would show parts of the collection not being displayed in Griffith Park.


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Gay cowboys: Autry looks beyond 'Brokeback Mountain'

December 15, 2009 |  5:16 am

Brokeback

"Brokeback Mountain," the 2005 Oscar-winning film adaptation of the Annie Proulx short story, helped to open the closet door on gay life in the American West. Four years down the road, L.A.'s Autry National Center is taking the next logical (if belated) step by rummaging through that closet and sharing its findings with the public.

"Out West," which kicked off at the Autry on Sunday, will explore the roles of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in frontier history. Over the next 12 months, the museum will host a series of panel discussions, lectures, performances and a gallery tour to highlight some of its historical discoveries.

The museum is still finalizing dates but it said that one installment in the series, set to take place in May, will feature items from the museum's collection that have hidden gay histories, including a set of "buffalo" chairs that date back to the first half of the 19th century.

Gregory Hinton, who conceived and organized the program for the Autry, said that the museum is treading potentially sensitive territory by agreeing to host "Out West." He noted that the museum rejected earlier suggestions for the program's title for being (among other things) too hard-hitting or political.

You can read the entire story here

-- David Ng

Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain." Credit: Kimberly French / Focus Features

Native Voices at the Autry announces 10th anniversary season

September 20, 2009 |  9:00 am

Autry

Two original dramas and a festival of new plays will top-line the 10th anniversary season of Native Voices at the Autry.

The theater company, which was established in 1999, is the resident troupe of the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles. It works exclusively with Native American playwrights and theater artists.

The new season begins in November with the world premiere of "Carbon Black" by Terry Gomez. Billed as a psychological drama, the play tells the story of a mother-son relationship fraught with agoraphobia and media-inspired fear. The play will be directed by Randy Reinholz, the company's artistic director.

"Carbon Black"  will run Nov. 7 to 22.

In March, the company will present "Tales of an Urban Indian," a one-man show by Canadian playwright-actor Darrell Dennis. The play, which had a run at the Old Globe in San Diego, tells the story of a contemporary Indian who must deal with culture shock when he moves from the reservation to the big city.

The show, which is being presented in association with the Public Theater in New York, runs March 13 to 28.

In June, the theater company will hold a festival of new plays during an eight-to-10 day retreat for beginning, emerging and established Native American playwrights. This project will be hosted in conjunction with La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego State University.

-- David Ng

Photo: Autry National Center of the American West. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Monster Mash: Autry drops expansion plans; Wall Project coming to L.A.; LACMA to meet with spurned film fans

August 12, 2009 |  9:39 am

Autry

-- About face: The Autry National Center has dropped plans for a $175-million expansion in Griffith Park.

-- Public art: L.A.'s Wilshire Boulevard will close to traffic for three hours on Nov. 8 for the Wall Project, an artistic commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

-- Reeling: LACMA's Michael Govan is planning to meet with members of Save Film at LACMA to discuss the fate of the museum's film program.

-- Remember him? Esa-Pekka Salonen is one of four composers commissioned by the New York City Ballet to write new scores for the company's upcoming season.

-- Change of pace: David Mamet is teaming with Disney to adapt and direct a new film version of "The Diary of Anne Frank."

-- Big debut: Martin McDonagh's new play, "A Behanding in Spokane," is set to have its world premiere in March on Broadway.

-- Budgetary cuts: The Cleveland Museum of Art has laid off 14 employees and will leave eight posts vacant in an attempt to balance its budget.

-- An offer you can't refuse: "Come Fly With Me," the upcoming Frank Sinatra musical directed by Twyla Tharp, will tour North America in 2010 after premiering in Atlanta.

-- Casting nightmare: Opera divas Angela Gheorgiu and Anna Netrebko have withdrawn from performances of "Carmen" and "La Traviata," respectively, in the Metropolitan Opera's upcoming season.

-- David Ng

Photo: the Autry National Center. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Autry National Center withdraws expansion plan

August 11, 2009 |  7:31 pm

Autry Museum plans

In a move that concedes a measure of victory to long-term opponents, the Autry National Center has bowed out of a protracted battle for a $175-million expansion of its facility in Griffith Park.

City approval of the plan hinged on a recent demand for the Autry to make a legally binding commitment to support the Southwest Museum located in Mt. Washington, as a fully functioning art institution in perpetuity. In a letter delivered to members of the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday, the Autry stated that such a commitment would be irresponsible and that it is withdrawing its proposal.

“Any further attempt to proceed with the proposed expansion project in Griffith Park would be an ill-advised diversion of our financial resources and an insupportable distraction from our work in serving the community,” Autry President John L. Gray states in the letter. “We come to this decision with reluctance and deep regret — but the constant delays, the past and future costs, the unyielding insistence on financial and programmatic commitments which we cannot responsibly make, and the prospect of future expensive and debilitating litigation all demand that we fulfill the Autry’s vision under different circumstances.”

Councilman José Huizar, whose district includes the Southwest Museum, said the decision caught him by surprise.

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Autry drops plans for $175-million expansion at Griffith Park site

August 11, 2009 | 12:02 pm

Autry

The Autry National Center has bowed out of a protracted battle for a $175-million expansion of its facility in Griffith Park.

City approval of the plan hinged on a recent demand for the Autry to make a legally binding commitment to support the Southwest Museum as a fully functioning art institution in perpetuity. In a letter delivered to members of the Los Angeles City Council today, the Autry stated that such a commitment would be irresponsible and that it is withdrawing its proposal.

“Any further attempt to proceed with the proposed expansion project in Griffith Park would be an ill-advised diversion of our financial resources and an insupportable distraction from our work in serving the community,” Autry President John L.Gray stated in the letter. “We come to this decision with reluctance and deep regret — but the constant delays, the past and future costs, the unyielding insistence on financial and programmatic commitments which we cannot responsibly make, and the prospect of future expensive and debilitating litigation all demand that we fulfill the Autry’s vision under different circumstances.”

The Autry proposed a two-phase project that would have increased its Griffith Park building from 142,000 square feet to 271,000 square feet, including exhibition and visible storage space for the Southwest’s collection.  Despite the setback, Autry leaders say they will carry out their vision by continuing to care for the Southwest’s Native American art collection and historic building, and converting Autry storage space into galleries.

Check back with Culture Monster later today for updates on this report.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Autry National Center. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times 

Monster Mash: Ring Festival debate resumes; Wikipedia battle heats up; Pina Bausch film to continue; Spiral Jetty in danger

July 21, 2009 |  8:17 am

Mike Antonovich -- Debate over anti-Semitism: L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich today will introduce a measure to celebrate composers beyond Wagner in Los Angeles Opera's 2010 Ring Festival.

-- Major commission: Sir Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas selected for $2.7-billion master plan for West Kowloon cultural district in Hong Kong.

-- Public service mission?: Wikipedia fires back at Britain's National Portrait Gallery in a dispute over images appearing on the online encyclopedia site.

-- Danger to iconic artwork: Proposed industrial expansion on Great Salt Lake poses threat to artist Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

-- Project continues: Director Wim Wenders moves ahead with his 3-D dance film about Pina Bausch, who died last month.

-- Notable name: "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba joins production team of Broadway-bound "Burn the Floor."

-- Challenges facing institutions: Why the arts don't pay for themselves.

Pow wow -- Backers needed: Lack of funds force cancellation of Autry's 41st annual Pow Wow.

-- Birthday bash: Ravinia Festival in Chicago plans a big celebration of Stephen Sondheim's birthday next year.

-- Public funds: Nigerian art chiefs charged in theft of more than $6.8 million meant for the National Gallery of Art.

-- Starting young: 16-year-old Ilyich Rivas to conduct 22-year-old violinist Elena Urioste in Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert.

-- Yuck: A playwright's tomb is one of the 5 germiest tourist attractions, according to TripAdvisor.com

-- Here we go again: Another debate over when to applaud at a classical music performance.

-- Lisa Fung

Top photo: Mike Antonovich. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times. Bottom photo: A participant in last year's Autry Pow Wow. Credit: Abel Gutierrez

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