Thursday, December 17, 2009

Judgment Chapel





























The Triptych is finally done. 7' high each by 68", 7'x17' total . The Chapel is designed. Two 5'x10' wings of musical warriors guide us in, a circle of Angels dance in greeting before us. Trial awaits.

It has no single religion or dogma attached. It is personal accountability. We must all answer for our lives at some point, even if you do not believe in God. On your deathbed, you must go over your life, and come to a conclusion whether it was worthy or not. Some are sociopaths, some are saints. We all are sinners. And even the worst of us has some redeeming quality. Is it enough?Should we wait til it is too late? What do we leave behind? It is not for us to judge you, but your own conscience. And whatever may await.
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Today is always the day to atone for our ways and renew our faith in life. We will not be here long, what have we done? Is the world better for our having been here? Was love in our lives? Did we sacrifice for others? Did we give as willingly and happily as we took? Was our life in balance; mind, body and soul nurtured and worked for the benefit of all?
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The left panel is Trial. The Angel of the Lord stands before us, awaiting his command, to let in or destroy. The Trial is going on, defense to the right pleading our case, of frail man and his weaknesses, as well as his triumphs. The left the prosecutor demands perfection, and reveals our failures. God looks on from upper right, his verdict in waiting.
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The right, our failure, Doom. The Angel takes vengeance as Gods anger burns. Yeshua cries for our soul, for in the Quran as well as Bible, Isa, Jesus, is there at the end times. But he is always there to plead for Man, for he is pure. The middle panel we have Acceptance, we are welcomed and God glows in joy for we are loved. But do we?
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The Age of Meism and Excess behind us, our most recent Gilded Age over. Judgment of Humanity is here and we have failed as a society, but there is time while we live. Do we make the most of it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Revitalization of LACMA














































Making it reflective of the general populace of Los Angeles, and relevant to humanity . Things it has strayed from more and more over the decades since its inception. There is a drive to tear down the old buildings, spend hundreds of millions we don’t have for something new, again, and remake it as a popular place, which it no longer is. I have been three times lately and doubt there were more than a hundred people each time, on Saturdays no less. Only special events bring people to the museums. Events that require funds and promotions, not making it a part of people’s lives, a place that the various communities of Southern California can call home.
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There are some very good things about LACMA, its collections are slowly improving, and overall has been showcased in comfortable and appropriate ways. But much more can be done, and a new edifice to the few is not going to improve its standing in the population of 12 million it is supposed to serve. The recent architecture has been appropriate for its subject, shallow contemporary art in a building looking like it is made of tinker toys, a covered area that makes one feel he is pulling up to a gas pump, obviously reverenced from Ed Ruscha’s Standard Station painting.
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As with most things pop, it only references itself, as it has little connection to the reality of the many, except in pretending to see ideas in common items. Conceptually giving them meanings they don’t truly have. And so separating its creators from the world they are supposed to serve, by claiming intellectual superiority, when it is truly just myopic arrogance. And the lack of creativity and improvisation in interlacing and layering different styles the true antithesis of Art, the inability to see commonalities and potential the outcome of decades of Academic teachings. Which are about separation for control and market value, not appreciating life, and creating profit, not the passionate joining of humanity.
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The new architect Director Govan is interested in is from northern Europe. His ideas and lines are appropriate for a cold, snowy, and forested environment, but have no place in a Mediterranean clime with Latin America as its largest coming influence. We are a hot and dry culture, where buildings are designed to keep us cool, not warm and dry from wet and cold. Our architecture is of outdoors, of living with nature, not separating ourselves. We need a festive environment, one that brings different cultures together, and makes it a place of communing, of disparate peoples joining and creating a cross fertilization of structures and forms.
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The buildings we have are easily mutable with some creative energy. Current architects leave no room for innovation or change, all steel and glass and stone, with no ability to create swirls of color, harmonies that unite us in common joys. Yet we have left them beige, boring, not attempting to give them an energy we can easily, and cheaply provide. It is called paint. A foreign substance to most artists these days, color is what creates form, and together, a feeling of belonging. The current Ahmanson, Bing and Hammer are dull outside, but in that they have pillars and panels besides the stone, they can be painted and changed over time, nothing is static forever. The ancient Greeks painted the Parthenon, not cold white stone, but festive places to unite as a culture. LACMA can do the same, and for very little monies.
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I have created an example, the Ahmanson with burnt umber pillars and yellow gold in between their folds. Burnt orange, of the sunsets, atop the roof, and the façade of the walkway. Burnt red along the wall panels both upper and lower. The same color will be on the pillars of the Hammer, mixing with its pinkish panels. From the Tar Pit area it will have the appearance of wood, as redwood trees between the foliage. Various golden yellow and orange will be on various singular panels of the two buildings, with the same Thalo Green of the pillars of Times court in the under passage. The green will also be on the lower level panels of the Bing, with Thalo blue ones on the upper panels and the walkway façade, with brilliant white pillars and golden yellow interior on both.
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This is but the setting, the courtyard will have a gazebo type bandstand, with perhaps a climate controlled storage against the Art of the Americas building to store an upright grand, which is fine for such a venue. On the stand concerts can be given, allowing performers, both of acting and acoustic music, allotted times to enhance a Central Park style involvement of the audience/viewer of the Museums, for music will be integrated into the visual art of LACMA, not just in concerts. Behind the stand a scale replica of our greatest local artistic treasure, the Simon Rodia/Watts towers can be made. Not in ceramic, but replicating it in wrought iron, made at a local foundry, something LA used to be known for.
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And as the outside will become a meeting place and lively creative atmosphere, so it can be moved inside. Entering the Ahmanson, and descending the steps to the lower level another Los Angeles image icon will await. Perhaps our most famous buildings is not something new and humongous, but the downtown Bradbury Buildings interior space. As the elevator service is slow and so useless that I usually take the stairs at LACMA, a similar Bradbury style elevator in the middle can rise to the top floor, with iron and wood walkways alternating in different directions to the floors. This will activate a totally unused space, a so far wasted opportunity. A new sunroof built around the elevator, with colored panels rising up behind redwood colored pillars. Golden on the lower level, then sun burnt orange, the third Thalo green and blue at the top. Slight modulations will enliven it according to the light, changeable murals could be hung on the tan rock panels, and outsized posters of past LACMA events as well as collection artworks can be displayed.
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This will make a sterile and useless space come alive, and with sofas scattered around the floor area, with appropriate music’s pumped in, a meeting place of people in a cold and distant city can bring about an interaction we lack in our cultural institutions. Most of the galleries are fine now, much better than in the past with the white cube concept banished for the most part. The adjacent new Oceanic room is wonderful, the light and simple earth tone colors allow the richness of the wood and organic substances to shine through. The Pre-Columbian room is interesting, but does need the eye popping wood stained to a less distracting Cocoa bean color.
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Separating the newer Contemporary works into the BCAM is good, so as not to weaken the creative art of these buildings. However, the waste of wall space is incredible in the Broad. The lower level of the Serra behemoths are dull and lifeless, place rich and living colors on the empty walls around them. A painter I know of in the Bay area, Bob Nugent, has done a huge 200+ foot painting of the Amazon, which would enhance the rusted colors of the Serra’s, and at least give them the appearance of nature, that they are of the Colorado River valleys, not just tons and tons of wasted, rusting steel.
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The now neglected entrance between the Bing and Art of the Americas building could be rebuilt into a series of musical pavilions, with the great sounds of the Americas lined up against its walls. Brazilian, Caribbean, blues and Jazz, the musical equivalent to Modern Art, can be entered with appropriate visuals and perhaps smells of those lands and cultures, and music should be introduced throughout the Museum. Silence is not needed in visual art, the best of which is the physical embodiment of music and poetry. Not prose, which is but illustration. Or ideas which are solely of the individual, and not mankind.
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The Japanese Pavilion is an eyesore. The sickly green is not of Japan, and washes away the sensual masculinity of Japanese art in waves of mossy decay. Repainting the walls an off white, and replacing the dirty plastic panels with a more rice paper colored and textured protecting white would help set off the strong designs of the scrolls and screens. A dark wood, from railings to the ceiling to the tops of the kiosks would create a more virile and strong environment and create a much better light. The old May Co. building could be used as a giant canvas, one to paint murals upon, but it is the easily rectified Time’s Courtyard that can become a crosscurrent of LA, where peoples form various communities can meet and interact.
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Buses should be connected to outlying cultural venues to bring in populations who don’t usually go to LACMA, and take those who are there outbound to see our cultural treasures. Such as the Watt’s Towers, which LACMA should be involved with in saving and promoting, and the Buddhist Bell and park in San Pedro. Places in San Gabriel, the San Fernando and East LA should be involved in bringing new talents and peoples into the isolated WLA and Miracle Mile areas, which are far more secluded than they think. Outreach between parts of the city and its ethnic communities is essential , and has been neglected. This is the way of the 21st century, making art relevant to humanity again, exploring nature, defining who we are, and seeking a way to be more, to have purpose, to seek god.
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This is not only possible but necessary, for we are at a time of great change and opportunity. A time to explore and grow together, where the old ways have failed us. New ways must be created to conserve and protect our world, and unify to strengthen one another. It is no longer about I, about me, about the individual. It is about Us, with each person resolving to be a part of the whole. To grow as one, for we will fail together if we do not. Waste is no longer an option, personal glorification a detriment to humanity. A new time is upon us, a time to put aside childish things.