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LACMA - What Happened?

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Last weekend my dad accompanied me to see the Salvador Dali exhibit at LACMA (although, to avoid a $20 cover and massive crowds, I’d opt for the $17 weekday peek). Nonetheless, and as expected, the exhibit was absolutely astonishing.

Upon leaving Dali we toured the famous Japanese Pavilion, which houses a good portion of LACMA’s permanent collection – art and artifacts spanning centuries, the scope of which is indescribable. We left the Pavilion awe-struck (once again). That said, I was really looking forward to our next stop - Southern California Art of the 60’s and 70’s from LACMA’s Collection.

The first exhibit piece here was a large canvas with rainbow-colored lines. Not quite inspiring, but, whatever… let’s see the rest. That’s when the sinking feeling started. As my father and I walked the room, he immediately proclaimed “What a bunch of junk!”, and, sadly, I had to agree. (I know, some of you want to claw my eyes out right now). The fact that these pieces are from LACMA’s permanent collection is truly disappointing, whatever their historical significance. After experiencing the Pavilion and tremendous Dali exhibit, this one was, well…just plain silly. LACMA, I love ya, but seriously, come on!

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My father and I looked at: the burnt out old car with the metal people inside… the blank wall… the empty square glass box… Then we passed a white room where you have to take your shoes off to enter. Dad thought the shoes were part of an installation - that’s the level we’re talking about here. In retrospect, the rainbow canvas turned out to be the best piece in the building!

Writing about art for the ist has given me the opportunity to see some amazing work in this city over the past several months. Generally, the stuff I don’t like, I just don’t write up. But this exhibit really missed the mark, and may be worst I’ve seen yet. Not comparing apples to oranges, but it just doesn’t measure up. There’s better stuff out there – I’ve seen it (and continue to see it) all the time in galleries the size of LACMA’s janitor closet.

The Southern California Art exhibit runs through March 30th, 2008 (if you must), but I strongly suggest waiting to eat your lunch afterwards.

photo by edenjet from LAist Featured Photos via Flickr