TheEye is quite smug about her savvy packing skills, managing to take the minimum amount of ‘stuff’ in a small wheely case – unlike a friend (anonymous) who once packed 15 pairs of shoes for a 14-day trip!! Well, there’s always a first time to get it wrong. In spite of assiduously checking the five-day weather forecast in advance, who could have predicted the horrible effects of El Nino? Instead of basking in the warm Californian sunshine wearing summer clothes, it was sweaters, coats and umbrellas. No more boasting about ‘packing skills’. Oh dear, talk about being unprepared!
But it took more than driving rain and wind to dampen her spirits.
Los Angeles was full of festive cheer and garish decorations.
No time to waste – it was all systems go from the moment her feet touched the ground.
PASADENA and the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM, a ‘California Modern’ building, designed in the late 60s by the architectural firm LADD & KESLEY set in eight acres of beautiful gardens.
NORTON SIMON, an industrialist, established one of the first international consumer products corporations, which included Hunt Foods, Canada Dry, Max Factor and Avis Car Rentals. He was a passionate art collector with a skilled eye and amassed a renowned collection of Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern art as well as masterpieces from India and South East Asia, over a thirty year period. The collection has been housed in the Pasadena museum since 1974. Very impressive.
We could have stayed all day but it was off to the HUNTINGTON LIBRARY and BOTANICAL GARDENS, a non-profit research and educational centre founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, an astute businessman and visionary, interested in rare books, art and gardens.
The botanical gardens are planted with species that span the globe, covering 120 acres. Highlights include the Chinese Garden (Garden of Flowing Fragrance), the Desert Garden with rare cacti, the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden. A delightful experience.
TheEye has never understood the point of cacti – unattractive, spiky and fiendishly dangerous – but seeing so many different varieties, shapes and textures altered her opinion (up to a point!).Rare orchids grow in a vast hothouse –TheEye has a passion for orchids and these were stunning.
CIRQUE DE SOLEIL at the Dodger’s Stadium.
Probably the highlight of the week.
Spectacular, innovative, thrilling and exciting. Are there any more adjectives to add to the accolade? If so, you have TheEye‘s permission to add them!
This is a brand new show premiering in Los Angeles and San Fransisco. Having seen many ‘Cirques’ over the years – underwater in Las Vegas, and several at the Albert Hall in London, this one is more sophisticated and audacious. The costumes and risk defying trapeze acts had TheEye almost hyperventilating on the end of her seat.
Originated in Montreal, ‘The Cirque‘ is now a worldwide phenomenon. Startling when it first opened, the current show has lost none of its edge, and continues to startle and amaze. Trapeze acts take your breath away – artists literally flying and somersaulting in the air. One breathtaking visual thrill after another.
THE BROAD MUSEUM
The Broad is the newest addition to L.A.’s cultural scene opened a few months ago with well deserved trumpeting and accolades. Built by philanthropists, Eli and Edythe Broad, it holds nearly 2,000 works of contemporary and postwar art ( referred to as ‘Art of Their Time‘ ).
The building designed by architecture firm DILLER SCOFIDIO +RENFO (DS+R) in collaboration with GENSLER is dubbed ‘veil and the vault’, it merges gallery space and the collection’s storage that supports the museum’s extensive lending activities.
Free admission but booking well ahead is required, apart from Fridays, when it’s first come first served but a long wait.
It was a weird sense of déja-vu. In the mid-1980s, when Doris and Charles Saatchi opened their gallery in St John’s Wood, TheEye was the assistant curator. The beautifully presented catalogues, Art Of Our Time, with essays by luminaries such as Peter Schjeldahl and Robert Rosenblum featured works the Saatchis’ had acquired ‘in depth’ which included 15 Warhols, 23 Kiefers, 12 Twomblys, 6 Serras, Jeff Koon, Lucien Freud etc, (and we are merely scratching the surface.) The distinguishing feature of the collection was not just the large scale, undomestic, size of much of the work – but the gallery itself. Designed by architect Max Gordon with grey concrete floors and white walls it was ‘shock of the new’ for first-time visitors. Many felt they had strayed into an open prison rather than an art gallery. Some were intimidated and disorientated confronted with art they had never before encountered or understood – minimalism for example – was it a joke people asked?Doris and Charles broke new territory with their independent collecting style. Today, privately owned museums and vast holdings of art are commonplace. For many visitors, The Broad must have a similar impact, although the style of the architecture is more accessible and ‘friendly’. Looking at The Broad’s
Doris and Charles broke new territory with their independent collecting style. Today, privately owned museums and vast holdings of art are commonplace. For many visitors, The Broad must have a similar impact, although the style of the architecture is more accessible and ‘friendly’. Looking at The Broad’s Damien Hirst works which includes ‘Away From the Flock‘ – a ‘pickled’ lamb in formaldehyde solution (in a slightly leaking tank) – brought back memories of installing the notorious shark. But THAT is another story.
STAND OUTS AT THE BROAD
William Kentridge’s hybrid of film and drawing made over several years in the 1990s, focusing two main characters, business rogue, Soho Eckstein and artist Felix Tannenbaum and the troubling issues of South Africa. Neither sentimental or aggrandised. Totally brilliant and absorbing.
YAYOI KUSAMA, ‘INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM’You queue to enter the room alone and allowed a 45-second slot. A strange and wonderful experience. Takes a few moments to re-acclimatise to natural light when you exit.
EATING AND SHOPPING
Best dinner this trip was BESTIA, downtown. Great menu, great atmosphere.
For all fans of Christina Kim‘s niche brand ‘dosa‘, a visit to the downtown showroom is a treat.
TheEye was lucky to find intrepid traveller Christina ‘at home’ and hear her exciting news of forthcoming exhibitions. She is a real fashion ‘groundbreaker’.
‘dosa’ has a devoted following – TheEye amongst them.
FAREWELL LOS ANGELES
The weather might have been a disappointment, but everything else was fantastic.
PALM SPRINGS HERE WE COME!!