Marsha and Stu, my Snowbirds from Chicago, winter in Newport Beach and my assignment is to find new and interesting things to do. This years adventure began at The Broad and here you see the Jeff Koons installation ‘TULIPS’ hence the name for the third floor gallery.
The Broad houses 2,000 works collected over a 50 year period by Eli and Edythe Broad who are among our modern day Medici’s, patrons of the contemporary art world. Of special interest is knowing only 10% of their collection is on view at any given time and the rest are held in ‘The Vault’. More on that later.
Since the beginning of time, well at least the Paleolithic period, man has expressed himself through painting. The Lascaux ‘Cave’ paintings in the Dordogne region of Southwest France is proof of that.
Without the support of major patrons, most of what we know today as great art (I refer to all art forms) would be lost or never would have come into being. The question arises then not so much what drives men to create but what drives some to collect and not just collect a few works but become a modern day Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent, called by Machiavelli the ‘greatest patron of all.’ The Broad collection while quite extensive might be outdone by Herb & Dorthy (Vogel) postal worker & librarian who crammed their 1 bedroom apartment in N.Y.C. with 4,000 Minimalist & Conceptual art pieces all on a postal workers salary! Their collection is now housed in The National Gallery of Art. All this is quite something to think about and you might be interested in seeing the documentary on ‘Herb and Dorothy’.
Back to The Broad. Although the museum visit is free, ticketing can be problematic as you have to reserve quite a bit ahead and invariably stand in line for your entry time. The current exhibits on the main floor are ‘Creature’ with the largest piece being Thomas Houseago’s ‘Giant Figure-Cyclops’ which you can partially see in the photo below. Another is Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ which you have to line up again for in order to get a time to view. (Only one person allowed in the room at a time.)
An escalator travels upwards to the third floor gallery where first you enter the ‘Tulip Room’. As you ascend, you have no idea that you’re passing through ‘The Vault’. More on that later.
I was taken by this Barbara Kruger work, ‘You are a Very Special Person’ because of the text that I want to shout out to everyone!
Now this Conceptual piece by Jenny Holtzer, ‘Inflammatory Essays, 1979-82 is huge. Offset posters on vertical rows of colored paper, each repeating the text from top to bottom of its row. You may find it interesting, depressing, truthful, shocking or just as it’s title, ‘inflammatory’! You be the judge.
On to Jeff Koons…..
A dog is a dog or something like that. Draw your own conclusions.
Actually the architecture of The Broad is an artwork in and of itself!
You may remember I call student Monica my Cy Twombly and wouldn’t dare to change a bit of her amazing style. However, the works of Twombly that I have responded to in the past were absent here.
Marsha is not only a patron of the arts but also a well respected docent in Chicago. Here she ponders the famous Jasper Johns ‘Flag’.
John Baldessari is in the ‘Sol LeWitt’ school of thought. Just give detailed instructions and have someone else create the work. Hmmmmm…
If you take the stairs down to the first level you’ll find you are in the center of ‘The Vault’ where there are two levels of windows through which you can view the vast collection in storage.
If you’re still on the fence about Conceptual Art I have a wonderful book to recommend. ‘ART and PHYSICS: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light’ by Leonard Schlain. Dr. Schlain develops the theory that artists in their time are prophetic and builds a strong case for that idea.
From The New York Times Book Review: “In eighteen years as an art critic I have not encountered more provocative, insightful writing about art.”
Another must read if you have a mountain of time and a colored marker is, ‘THE VOICES OF SILENCE’ by André Malraux. (Translated by Stuart Gilbert)
Ah, this looks pretty ‘conceptual’. I wish I had taken a photo of the 100-year-old Barouni olive trees on the plaza next to the Broad. So magnificent!
We’re hungry! ‘Otium Restaurant’ is right outside but I must give you fair warning. Although the food is wonderful they ran out of just about everything we wanted to order.
Oh well, we managed to sustain life.
On to the music! Carol invited me to a lecture by James Robinson, the Director of the opera ‘Abduction From the Seraglio’ which opened Saturday evening. It was held at The California Club and as we were driving there we were so hungry and started dreaming about the clubs yummy meatballs. As soon as we walked in a young woman approached us with a tray of….wait for it….meatballs!
Sated we moved on to the discussion.
James Robinson, Director of ’The Abduction From the Seraglio’, speaking with Christopher Koelsch, Pres/CEO LA Opera
Thank you dear Carol for a fun, informative evening!
Next day the Final Dress Rehearsal for ‘The Abduction From the Seraglio’.
I invited Amy to go with me and as usual, this is about as close to photographing her as I can get……Talk to the hand! She’s holding the Production notes & synopsis.
Time for the Bella Voce Society Dinner……
At the Bella Voce Society dinner I sat next to Ellen Sondheim, quite possibly the sweetest woman in the entire world…make that the universe! She is so in love with husband Harry that they acted like honeymooners. It was a joy to be with them!
I wish you great joy in every precious moment!