Across Wilshire Boulevard and a block west of LACMA is the amazing Petersen Automotive Museum, founded by Robert Petersen, publisher of Hot Rod magazine. Designed by House and Robertson the building’s architecture is controversial. The L.A. Times reviewer really dislikes the building, but in my opinion, that blood red building wrapped in enormous, sinuous stainless steel sculptural ribbons deserves applause. It is as brash and over-the-top as American muscle cars.
I have to confess that I am not a car person so I haven’t been inside, but the building is spectacular even from across the street. If you are a car person, you can see hot rods, race cars, historic BMWs and other automobiles at the museum. You can even use their race car driving simulators.
Another exhibit at LACMA, one I almost missed, is entitled ‘Sense of Time: video and film-based works of Africa.’ One work, The Masked Dance’ by Yinka Shonibare is absolutely astonishing. It is a video of people dressed for a European court dance, wearing clothing made from African tribal fabrics. Almost all of Shonibare’s works explore the relationship between Europe and Colonial states.
In a few minutes one sees dance, courtship, death (maybe), murder (maybe), rebirth and escape. Sadly, the room this video is shown in is relatively small and has too much light. I couldn’t find this video on YouTube although many other of this brilliant artist’s works are there.
(And tomorrow, More photos from my visit to LACMA.)
As a kind of balance to the room after room of Mapplethorpe’s male nudes, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is exhibiting men’s clothing since the 1700s. Most of the recent items in the exhibition are works by famous designers.
There is, however, one example of clothing that was worn by the man on the street: a Pearly King vest. The Pearly Kings and Queens were members of the working class who did charitable works beginning in the early 19th Century in London. I remember that as I child I was fascinated by photographs of them I saw in magazines. And they still exist. In fact, one pearlie group marched in the opening of the 2012 Olympics.
The Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax boasts that it is the oldest farmers’ market in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1917 when a few farmers pulled wagons filled of local vegetables and fruits onto a vacant lot and began to sell. But 98 years later it is sad. Worn. Bedraggled. In seriously need of an upgrade. And, in my mind, it barely qualifies as a ‘farmers market’. There are a couple of fresh fruit stalls near one entrance, but that’s it. No rows and rows of farmers selling their own delicious locally-grown fruits and veggies like the ones you find at the hundreds of neighborhood farmers markets all over L.A.
It is more of a fast food lunch place than a place to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables. Whoever owns the property should take a cue from the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles which has experienced a rebirth in the last two years. (The post I wrote about the Grand Central Market is here.)
On the other hand, some of the stalls at the Farmers Market are quite colorful so I took a few photos. (We ate lunch across the street at Mendocino Farms.)