Defending Minimalistic Thought

Memorial Day at the Museum

Since I moved to Los Angeles I have contrived to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The biggest obstacle to this was the fact that I really wanted to not have to pay. It actually took me multiple months to have a day free when the museum was as well, but luckily a group of people from my apartment building visited during the "Target Free Holiday" on Memorial Day. While I am a bit embarrassed that it took me so long to visit a museum after moving to a new city I have now visited and have a membership with LACMA. I plan to go much more often in the future.

Levitated Mass, Michael Heizer 2012 Image Courtesy of the LACMA Website

I was not originally all that excited to visit LACMA because all I had heard about was the Stanley Kubrick exhibition. Anyone who knows about my taste in movies knows I have never seen a Kubrick, nor am I likely to. I didn't think LACMA held that much of interest for me. Clearly I should have done my homework. There's a Heizer (who I studied for my I.S.) right on the grounds. I had heard about it before, but it was Edward Goldman talking, so I wasn't really listening to the words. Anyway, I relished the opportunity to blather on about the displacement of natural objects while everyone I was with politely stood around and thought "Yeah, right Nora. It's still just a rock." Beyond this, the permanent collection, which I would have known if I'd looked, is delightful. Having lived in Picasso's adolescent stomping ground, and having an interest in writing about the muse-artist relationship, I have developed what could be an unhealthy obsession with the Spanish artist.

Head of a Woman, Pablo Picasso, 1909 (Cast in 1960) Image Courtesy of the LACMA Website

The collection of his work at LACMA is delightful. There were a few works showing off his impeccable technical skill, then many others that basically ran through his entire artistic development. The Rose and Blue period works were few and far between; really impressive was the complete collection of his woman head sculptures. They start fairly realistically then morph into what could be considered a three-dimensional form of cubism. I had learned about them in Modern Art class, and seeing them on display brought me right back to that classroom, with the wind making the building clank over Professor Siewert's low voice.

One thing I couldn't keep my mind off of while wandering around the Modern wing and into the sculpture garden full of Rodin's more religious works was how much I wish I had modeled for any of these artists. It is a sort of Midnight in Paris-y romanticized view of it (would I really want to be a woman in the turn of the century that needed to model nude to make money?), but the art world at the time was so dynamic, so influential that I can't help but wish I had been part of it.

This was a new feeling for me; visiting a museum as a model. Galleries show spectacular art I also dream about being involved in, but the history of museums makes that feeling even more potent. On this note, I am going to commit myself to an extra monthly post in which I go to LACMA, find a work that I wish I had modeled for, then write about it. I hope they end up being interesting!