Framed by beautiful photos and poetic words, Jessica Martinez tells the not-so-fictional story of gentrification in Koreatown. Read about how a hip burger joint “displaced, erased and shifted decades of history” and culture in the Latinx community.
Have you shed tears for the Phantom when you watched the musical? Yes, the phantom of the Opera may be insanely beautiful, but the “love” depicted is insane in today’s society. With the growing awareness of women’s rights, classic love stories are reexamined to not be about true love anymore, but manipulation, abuse, and psychological kidnapping.
Down to check out some funky contemporary art? Ai Weiwei’s exhibition, including “Zodiac” (2018) and “Stools” (2013) are currently featured in Jeffrey Deitch gallery at 925 N Orange Drive, LA.
Ai Weiwei is one of the most famous Chinese contemporary artists, based in Beijing and now working internationally. His father was Ai Qing, a renowned poet who was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, the artist takes this as inspiration to create artwork reflecting the Chinese government and their repression over individuals. He expresses these emotions through installations created with ready-made pieces that were outsourced with a historical provenance, attached with a symbolic meaning.
When you walk into the gallery, the first thing that hits you as an audience is the massive number of stools, all perfectly aligned in the center of the space. Ai’s stool installation covers 72-foot square of the entire gallery, aligned in a perfectly geometric sequence that leaves viewers amazed, but also evokes a chilling response. Surrounding “Stools” are 12 large multicolored works of art. Each depict an animal of the zodiac, arranged chronologically. From afar, they look like pop art — something Andy Warhol-esque, but up close, you realize they are all made up of small plastic LEGO pieces!
So what does it all mean? The 5,929 wooden stools were gathered from the Ming and Qing dynasties. These were ubiquitous items that symbolize the Chinese domestic household. The use of ready-made, old stools evoke the sense of antiquity that has been carried over consecutive generations, and with it, tells its own narrative. From Ai’s arrangement of the installation, we can see how all the stools have a simple design that has remained the same for decades, reflecting how Chinese values are forever unchanged and persistent.
“Zodiac” can be interpreted through its choice of material — LEGOs. LEGOs are industrial materials that were mass produced, and look identical to one another. The collection of such a big mass of LEGOs questions how the individuals in China contribute to society — what their amalgamated value creates. Just like how the combined presence of LEGOs pieced together, forms a picture representative of Chinese traditions.
Though “Zodiac” is the featured exhibition, the Jeffrey Deitch space also encompasses many other installations by Ai Weiwei such as “Ton of Tea” (2006), “Crystal Cube” (2016), “Treasure Box” (2014), “The Animal That Looks Like a Llama But Is Really An Alpaca” (2015) and more of his exciting projects for you to check out!
The exhibition is from September 29, 2018 — January 5, 2019 at the Jeffrey Deitch gallery.
Ever wanted to participate in the art scene but never knew where or how to start? Bruins are lucky enough to have a university affiliated institution just at the edge of Westwood Village — the Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd). Whether or not art is your forte, everyone can enjoy their time at the Hammer, but before I get into its details, let me provide a background gist of what art in Los Angeles is like.
LA is best known for its mural and contemporary art that began to flourish since the 1960s. Compared to New York or Washington DC — the relatively more distinguished art hubs of the United States — the LA art scene is pretty new. As of now, however, LA is one of the biggest markets for buying contemporary art in the States, housing many of the most prestigious museums such as LACMA, The Broad, and our very own Hammer Museum!
Upon entering the Hammer, don’t be intimidated by the clean architectural interior! You will be greeted by a docent who will guide you to the lobby where you get a bold pink Hammer Museum sticker (don’t worry, the ticketing is always free!). Most of the exhibitions as of now, are all on the third floor where the galleries are situated.
In terms of time, the Hammer is definitely a museum you can finish going through within an hour or two, depending on your interest in the artworks displayed. It has a good combination of both historical and provoking contemporary art, though I would say the Hammer is a better representative of the latter. This is simply because LA is more in touch with the contemporary art world than it is with the ancient/historical (if you are more interested in those, perhaps the Getty Center and the Getty Villa would be museums more suited for you).
Currently, the Hammer is exhibiting works of contemporary artist Adrian Piper: “Adrian Piper: Concepts and Institutions, 1965-2016”. It features more than 270 works across 50 years, and the audience can see a wide variety of her multimedia artwork. Under the calming ambience of the Hammer, you can get to know one of the most renowned contemporary artists, who has influenced the art scene since the 60s. She addresses social, political and spiritual issues on gender, race and xenophobia through a humorous perspective — definitely an enlightening way to begin your path into the field of art. The exhibition is on display until January 6, 2019, so there is still a lot of time to visit!
Asides from just being a museum institution, the Hammer is also a multipurpose area that would be perfect for a date, studying or even just to grab a quick bite amongst an artistic environment. The outdoor atrium (where the spinning chairs are), is normally pretty empty and spacious, a great place to move your studying away from Powell Library and into an aesthetic environment with great lighting. There is also a café open in case you get hungry!
Note: The Hammer Museum is closed on Mondays.