After having visited the various museums around LA (the Getty, Norton Simon, Huntington, and the various museums here at Exposition) over the past couple years, I finally made it to LACMA. Visiting museums presents a mild catch-22 for me: I don’t like going without a group of other people, but I don’t like to walk around with that group. I’d much prefer to go on my own and sit in one spot for a half hour if I want to without worrying about if the rest of the group is getting annoyed. Luckily, I’ve found that plenty of people feel the same way and don’t really care if we stick together as a group or not.

On another “freshman outing” coordinated by the grad Radomir, about 10 of us headed down to check out the latest addition to LACMA: the BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum). We started off the night at Souplantation, which turned out to essentially be a step up from college cafeteria-style dining. After wondering why a Frank Lloyd Wright quotation was on the wall and having our fill of soup, salad, bread, and desserts we embarked on the traffic-packed journey that was 3rd/Fairfax/Wilshire to LACMA.After 5pm, everyone gets in free, so being the cheep college students we are, that’s exactly what we went for.

Starting off, the BACM goes top down (kinda like the Guggenheim I guess) and each of the three floors is massive. The first floor (which is actually the third) opens up to the exhibition that all the press in focusing on. The pieces are very large, metallic, incredibly shiny, balloon-shaped objects by Jeff Koons. These include dogs, an egg, and other things that are just big and colorful and reflective. Also in this exhibition are a few pieces by Andy Warhol. After spending a good part of a month focusing on Pop Art last semester, I’ve done a bit of reading on him and was very surprised to see his Elvis at LACMA. While only one copy was on display, it reminded me of the fact that they used to be displayed repeatedly overlapping across an entire wall. Very Pop and very gay, as was Warhol.

Of the three floors, the first had the largest pieces, the second had the most pantings/photography, and the third was all (I think) Richard Serra pieces. Again, last semester we spend quite a bit of time on installations and public art. Serra’s Tilted Arc was the focus of our discussions, but his two pieces at LACMA are far more interesting in my opinions. While Tilted Arc is clearly a prime example of how public art can be received by its audience (and I agree that it was very intrusive), these two were not out in public, and I think that their place in a large hall is perfect.  Both pieces rise up about 10-15 feet and are made of rusted steel. One piece is a massive figure eight and the other (which we didn’t spend much time at) was similarly contoured, but I’m not sure what its shape is.

After we left the BACM, we headed over the main part of LACMA, but our time was limited. In about an hour and a half, I saw some great Southern Californian pieces, a Rothko, two Pollocks, some Picassos, a Braque, and countless others. At 9, we were kicked out and LACMA closed. Naturally, we spend another hour driving aimlessly around LA and eventually wound up back on campus. It was a good night.

USC Libraries blow me away

Books ThumbnailSo I’m sitting in AFA (Architecture & Fine Arts Library) doing some research for the art history paper that is due next Monday, and I need to get a book. So I open my laptop and head to HOMER (the library catalogue database) to see if we have it. First try: score. USC just happens to have a copy of Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology by Francis Frascina and Charles Harrison from 1982. Lucky me, I can continue my quest to link Robert Morris’ “Notes on Sculpture Pt. 1” from Artforum to the two pieces of art I have yet to select. That the book was in the library was a pretty sweet coincidence that winds up happening about four more times until I’m fully confident that – here at USC – every book in the history of the universe is/was/will be located in one of our libraries. I say “was” because books get stolen. It always sucks when you do a search it is comes back as being due two years ago… But I stand firm, somewhere in the vast (and horribly creepy) bookstacks of USC lies the meaning of life.

Ultimate frisbee is a serious sport, who knew?

Ultimate FrisbeeIt all began last week. I stepped out onto the field where there were people warming up to play Ultimate Frisbee. I walked over to be one of them. Little did I know how serious they are about their sport.

I’ve played Ultimate in high school plenty of times. After the swim season ended, ultimate was all we played during 6th period. The teams were about 20 on 20 and we played on a huge soccer field wearing some sort of a combination of Rainbow sandals, running shoes, metal cleats, and bare-feet. It was Fallbrook, give us a break.

Just as a quick note, I do deserve a small break for my ignorance. My idea of intramural sports was inter-tube waterpolo. Swimming around in a pool with plastic life preservers around your waist didn’t sound so hardcore to me. I guess intramural sports run the full gamut of intensity, and I picked an upper tier one.

I was in for a rude awakening Monday last week. Little did I know that we’d be actually practicing good throwing technique and things like offensive formations. Seriously, everything that a sport like football or basketball has in terms of strategy, Ultimate has parallels for it all. It was pretty evident last week that the majority of my team were freshman who had about as much experience as myself. The few retuning players we had were noticeably better than the rest of us. Our first game, we got beat pretty badly. By half-time the score was 7-0. Hope was not lost though, at the end, we had scored a few times for a final of 13-4. Not much of a catchup, but somehting nonetheless.

This Monday was a different story. From the get-go, we realized what our playing style is. We play it slow and don’t rush any decisions (we have a minimum of 10 seconds to make any decision at all). At half-time, the score was 7-3, which was better than the first game, but still losing. We played an awesome second-half in which I pulled the frisbee onto the next field. Embarrassing to say the least. But I scored, so maybe that makes up for it. By then end, the final score was 15-13, us. That’s right, we came back and went back and forth twice to grab the win. Victory is sweet, but even sweeter when you have to work for it.