Hard-core snowboarders and skiers in Aspen, Colo., might get surly when it rains, but Mark Grotjahn's newest sculptures, which are sharing their slopes, seem content in any weather. They are boxy, cheery, colorfully painted bronze heads with cut-out eyes that look like they were based on cardboard sculptures made by a kid. In fact, they were based on cardboard sculptures made by an acclaimed L.A. artist.
Grotjahn first showed his primitive cardboard sculptures in a group show, "Painting in Tongues," at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2006. Now his painted bronze versions have made their debut in Colorado: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk each feature one sculpture, with the fifth located nearby at the Aspen Art Museum, where a survey of Grotjahn's work opened Monday.
Four years after collaborating on the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will reunite to build a temporary construction that will be connected with the end of London's Cultural Olympiad.
For the last several years, the small Serpentine Gallery (a former tea house) has been commissioning pavilions, built as a temporary adjunct to their space, from some of the world's most renowned designers, including Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind and Oscar Niemeyer.
A few details about the Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron commission -- the 12th so far -- have been released, the most notable being that the floating platform of a roof will barely be five feet off of the ground. The idea is that it will collect rainwater on the surface, perfect for reflecting the moody London sky, or it can be drained for dance events. The trio also plans to dig a few feet deep into the soil below so that visitors can walk beneath the roof, which will be supported by 12 columns, 11 representing past pavilions and one for the current.
The AxS Festival has been blazing a trail through the institutes of Pasadena for the last week but there’s still more to see, right up till its conclusion on Oct. 16.
Taking the theme of fire and water for this year’s investigation into how art intersects with science and vice versa, the festival, put on by the Pasadena Arts Council, offers several showcases for visual art inspired by outer space, dance that reflects on the desert, sound art curated by multimedia artist Steve Roden, and conversations about toxic water and wildfires.
It’s the right festival for a city studded with such premiere science institutions as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, as well as artistic gems that include the Dance Conservatory of Pasadena, the Art Center College of Design and the Armory Center.
Terry LeMoncheck, the executive director of the Pasadena Arts Council, said the festival took two years to plan and cost around $300,000, which the council secured in funding from various charitable foundations, including the NEA and the James Irvine Foundation. That money allowed it to commission several new pieces of work, an important goal of the festival.
“When you put an artist and a scientist together,” LeMoncheck said, “it’s about being in the moment and looking to the future. Artists and scientists have ideas and inquisitive minds all the time. Commissioning new work allows for that fertile territory where new ideas can happen, the kind that can transform lives or the world.”
For Roden’s "Ignite/Flow" showcase, taking place Friday night in the Wind Tunnel Gallery at the Art Center, the artist and arts council member was excited by the opportunity to simply let three of his favorite artists (composer Mark So, multimedia performance artists Yann Novak and Robert Crouch, and visual/sound artist Carole Kim) interpret the festival’s theme in three radically different ways.
Enraged: Art handlers at Sotheby's picketed outside the company's New York headquarters after being locked out over a contract dispute. (Wall Street Journal)
Special honor: James Earl Jones is to receive an honorary Oscar to put on the shelf with his Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards. Oprah Winfrey is also to be an honoree. (Los Angeles Times)
Culture cash: The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced $40 million in grants, including $3.2 million for scholars, museums and documentary filmmakers in California. (Los Angeles Times)
Chopping block: The beleaguered New York City Opera is eliminating the position of music director, which is held by George Manahan. (New York Times)
Cultural diplomacy: Israel's Museum on the Seam is actively courting Arab and Muslim artists. (Associated Press)
New hire: El Museo del Barrio in New York has named Margarita Aguilar as its new director. (Associated Press, via Wall Street Journal)
Public nudity: Officials arrested participants in a nude, site-specific piece of performance art on Wall Street. (New York Times)
Celebrating: Kathleen Marshall will direct the gala performance for the reopening of City Center in New York. (Playbill)
Teaming up: The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has entered into a partnership with the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim, Germany. (Baltimore Sun)
Adults only: A tour through the new Museum of Eroticism in Moscow. (Los Angeles Times)
Also in the L.A. Times: Art critic Christopher Knight reviews Charles Ray's "Boy With a Frog" at the Getty Center.
-- David Ng
[Updated: A previous version of this post misspelled the name of Margarita Aguilar.]
Photo: Sotheby's in New York. Credit: Jim Henderson / Wikimedia Commons
The subway station at the fabled intersection of Hollywood and Vine is a Pop extravaganza, but it has much more than empty tinsel to offer hurried commuters. This clever, elaborately over-the-top design of an old movie theater interior asserts something distinctive -- and utterly unexpected -- for a place otherwise as prosaic as a subway station.
Artistically, the design slyly muses, the movies are the most profound form of mass-transit that the modern world devised.
Gilbert "Magú" Luján, the Los Angeles painter, muralist and sculptor who designed the station interior as part of the Metro Art Project, died Sunday at 70. The marvelous station will anchor his artistic legacy.
The station opened in 1998. Like all great Pop, its design plays against type. Public art meets site-specific art.
Luján, working with Altadena architect Adolfo Miralles, conceived a space that subsumes the sleek, up-to-the-minute motif of an epic, technological construction project burrowing beneath the civic sprawl within that of a fantasy movie theater reminiscent of Hollywood's golden age. Never heavy-handed, neither is it just an empty exercise in showbiz nostalgia.
Dangerous?: After a car accident last week killed a baby, concern is growing over the crowds at the Downtown Art Walk. (Los Angeles Times)
Public display: A security guard at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is facing criticism after he told two women that they couldn't hold hands. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Not gone yet: Zahi Hawass, who was recently fired as Egypt's antiquities chief, is still on the job after an effort to find a replacement fell through. (The Art Newspaper)
Sentenced: Art dealer Leigh Morse, found guilty of defrauding clients, has been ordered to pay $1.65 million in restitution. (Reuters)
Big-name talent: New York's Atlantic Theatre Company is producing new works by John Patrick Shanley, Adam Rapp and Ethan Coen for next season. (New York Times)
Public art: Sony has announced plans to install artist Tony Tasset's 94-foot-tall steel sculpture of a rainbow at its studios in Culver City. (Daily Breeze)
New role: Yeardley Smith, who voices Lisa Simpson on Fox's "The Simpsons," is joining the off-Broadway cast of "Love, Loss and What I Wore." (Playbill)
Group effort: Playwrights John Logan, Lynn Nottage and Christopher Shinn are to contribute pieces to a site-specific work dealing with 9/11. (What's on Stage)
Affordable housing: The Philadelphia Orchestra is seeking lower rent as part of its bankruptcy filing. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Canceling: Soprano Deborah Voigt has withdrawn from the Chicago Lyric Opera's revival of Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" in November, having decided to drop the role from her repertoire. (Chicago Tribune)
Also in the L.A. Times: Eddie Izzard prepares for his upcoming appearance at the Hollywood Bowl.
-- David Ng
Photo: Jimmy and Natasha Vasquez comfort each other at a candlelight vigil for their 2-month-old son Marcello Vasquez, who was killed in a car accident during a recent Downtown Art Walk. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
Some artworks fire up in a flash. Others take a bit longer to enter the world. By Peter Wegner’s accounting, the most ambitious of a suite of artworks he just completed for Stanford’s new Graduate School of Business campus was simmering for about two decades.
“Monument to Change as It Changes," shown above, is a large grid of color that, as the title suggests, is perpetually in flux. It is not static for even a second. At one moment, the whole “screen” floods with orange or blue; at another it disintegrates into a field of competing hues. For each small rectangle making up this large grid can change color with a quick flipping motion, the same way letters change on an old-fashioned train station departure and arrival board.
The artist says he first had the idea of using this flip-digit technology in an artwork when he was 25, standing on a train platform in Berlin with his wife. He found himself transfixed by the mechanical motion of the train signage “like any 3-year-old would be.”
He was also fascinated by the appearance of language in flux, as fragments of letters appeared and disappeared. “For me, it felt like meaning or sense was assembling and disassembling itself. Language was prying itself apart and putting itself together while you're standing there.” And then at a certain point, he says, the fragments “will coalesce into something recognizable.
“That really resonated with me. I go through life that way. There are moments where meaning seems really elusive and inscrutable and then momentarily falls into place.”
Click here for the full Arts&Books feature on Wegner's "monuments to the future" at Stanford, with a video interview showing the artworks in action.
Image: Peter Wegner sits in front of "Monument to Change as It Changes" at the Stanford Graduate School of Business's Knight Management Center. Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times.
Will the new Home Show be worth the wait? Or, for L.A. art fans, the drive to Santa Barbara?
It’s been 15 years since Santa Barbara’s Contemporary Arts Forum did a version of this popular exhibition, which involves commissioning artists to make work for local homes and then opening those homes to the public for self-guided tours on weekends. The last time had major figures like Vito Acconci and Dan Graham.
This time the list of participating artists is promising: Piero Golia, Bettina Hubby, Evan Holloway, Florian Morlant, Kori Newkirk, Jennifer Rochlin, Ry Rocklen, Kirsten Stoltmann, Stephanie Taylor and Jennifer West.
Culture Monster got advance word from CAF on the various site-specific installations in "Home Show, Revisited." Look for:
- A psychedelic surfing film by Jennifer West that, according to the artist, consists of “edits made by the surf and a seal while film floated in waves,” playing in a surfer’s pad in Carpinteria.
- A copper, brass and enamel sculpture by Evan Holloway that looks like an architectural model but is made to sit on a stove top, where its walls will steam up if sprayed with water, in a house in the San Roque neighborhood of Santa Barbara.
- A neon-sign sculpture by Kori Newkirk about secrets that reads “No visible neuroses,” mounted on a ceiling beam of an artist's loft in Carpinteria.
- Kirsten Stoltmann’s version of a “living room gone a little awry when a child decides to do some home decorating” (shown above) installed in a house in Noleta, the area between Santa Barbara and Goleta.
The "show" opens to the public Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with houses remaining open Friday through Sunday afternoons through July 17. The CAF website has specific exhibition hours, but to pick up a map you must visit the gallery itself.
Michael Govan dreams big for LACMA
It Speaks to Me: James Welling on Hans Hofmann
James Franco is James Dean in next art-world project
Photo: Kirsten Stoltmann installation in David Court and Christi Westerhouse's home as part of "Home Show, Revisited," 2011. Glitter, noodles, beads, stuffed animals, stickers, clay, wax, and more; dimensions variable. Photo by Lady E Photography, Courtesy Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum.