Monthly Archives: February 2019

No! Not the Last, Please!

I write to remember. I remember because I write and revisit memories with my writing. Words and images. In uniting they offer me moments and emotions that would have sadly perished from my mind. So the name of one of my favorite bookstores in Los Angeles brings me a nostalgic feeling: The Last Bookstore. Joy that there is one and sadness that bookstores are probably on the endangered list.

After a quick snap of my shutter, I skip up to the second floor (I am childishly giddy right now). Each step proposing more sections to explore.

I get a grand view of the cavernous, old space, filled with books which I have just combed through.

How exciting… I am entering a labyrinth! Here I will find Science, Fiction & Fantasy. Then Mystery, Thrillers, Tru Crime, and Horror.

I have recently formed part of the jury at a film festival: the Festival Montevideo Fantástico, so Horror is a genre I am partial to.

Many of the genres in the back room are also of my liking: History, Cultural Studies, New Age, Religion, Foreign Language, Business, Travel, and Sports.

You know the Travel section is the one I spent considerable time in.

I love how the books are so artfully displayed, becoming more sculptural than reading material.

I’m not really wondering how they made this tunnel of books but which one I can pluck out without making it all come crumbling down.

Is the spotlight on me right now?

I have no idea of what these are but they seem at home in the horror section.

Art merges with the printed word here. It holds an art collective as well. Am on my way to it now.

As in The Broad, you may not touch the art.

Though you can sit on it.

Photography is an art and I’m happy to see the cameras themselves become one.

Music is an art as well and here, sculpture and music unite.

Art is often political.

Art makes a statement. It was January when I visited but this Christmas tree made out of prescription bottles was not brought down yet. I don’t think this was due to sentimentality; it had a message to relay.

Art makes me contemplative. I’m not into cuss words being used but it seems to be the go-to thing now, to provoke an emotion.

As is the use of animals to elicit emotions.

As I leave the focus goes back to words. The editor in me can’t help but question the “Nuestra Señora la Reina de la Librería Última de Los Angeles” translation from English to Spanish, under this sculpture on the wall.

I say goodbye to this bookstore. I thank it for entertaining me and I’m off to my next adventure.

Down the stairs that run alongside the Angels Flight railway (the shortest railway in the world). Technically it’s a funicular.

And into The Grand Central Market to fill my belly up with German currywurst at Berlin Currywurst remembering having had some in a lounge chair from a vendor on the side of a park in Berlin that had the area covered in sand resembling a beach. Happy memory. It tasted the same!

What next? Follow me!

Categories: Los Angeles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The “Broad” is not a Female

Definition by online Your Dictionary (yes, there is such a thing): slanga woman: sometimes considered offensive. So this Broad is not female and it is The Broad: a contemporary art museum in Los Angles, California.

I confess: though I thoroughly enjoy contemporary art, I am not quite well-versed in it. This homage to it comes to us free of charge (all you have to do is get a ticket online –gratis) thanks to Mr. and Mrs. philanthropists and collectors, the Broads, – pronounced in a completely different way than the female kind. I did not take pictures of the Broad’s exterior (criticized and exalted – striking nonetheless) so I take some of the entrance and windows from the inside. The windows in the building designed to let light in, yet not damage the art.

Visiting the most famous works first.  You certainly can’t avoid Jeff Koons’ -the world’s most expensive living artist- Tulips. I believe this is the same one I once saw in Steve Wynn’s Bellagio in Vegas, who bought the sculpture in 2013 for a cool $33.7 million.

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I photograph away as usual but this time I bring you me doing so, acquiescing to requests from readers that I include myself in photos.

Just as impressive as his Tulips is his Balloon Dog.  Koons is a master craftsman for sure.  An orange balloon dog sold for a record $58.4 Million in 2013. It was the first of a litter of five. I wonder how much this blue puppy fetched.

P1480343  In case you are thinking that he only has dogs in his menagerie, he also has bunnies.

Another of Koons’ favorite, most well-known works (part of his Banality series) is his life-sized Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture.

Before we leave Jeff (we’re on a first-name basis) I bring you Koons’ Jim Beam, J.B. Turner train (part of his Luxury and Degradation series) which has a super interesting story (it’s a decanter, so it involves liquor) of how it came to be. Click here. Worth the watch. It reminds me of a friend that not only loves trains but makes miniature ones. His, however, I am sure don’t cost near the $33.8 this one sold for in 2014.

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Oh no! Honey, did I shrink the tourists? What I like about contemporary art is the humor classical art lacks. The way it makes us look at common things in a new way. Robert Therrien presents us with everyday objects offering a different perspective.

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To prove that there is humor (even though I’m sure there is other intent in the work) here is something from a conceptual, performance, German artist. (His is the name on the plaque.)

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The above is probably the only lifting that I don’t need! I sometimes feel like this monumental painting by English painter Jenny Saville, Strategy.

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I am in downtown Los Angeles but whenever you mention my city Hollywood is the first thing that comes to people’s mind. Did you know that Hollywood is a verb? The artist Ruscha says so.

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A bit narcissistically, I like what I can connect with in some way.  A few months ago, I came back from five months in Spain, a country that I hold a passport to, so this collage from the above-mentioned artist, had my eye.

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Though I don’t quite understand what one has to do with the other, I like that this one (same artist) includes a flashback to my childhood with Cracker Jack. P1480378

To continue let me get rid of the paparazzi…P1480388

So kind of Barbara Kruger to tell me I’m a very special person (photographic silkscreen on vinyl). She’s an American artist that works with pictures, which automatically makes me like her.

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The next piece seems just right for this town.  From the Broad’s website: Untitled (If you’re so successful, why do you feel like a fake?), 1987, is a direct interrogation of the motivations of contemporary society—career building, money, and the appearance of success and good living. Kruger’s assertive display demands an answer from viewers. Unlike in advertising, which may ask a question to compel a purchase, Kruger’s work uses the same techniques to compel ethical change and reflection.  Getting to understand this type of art better thanks to it. Will not delve why I like the”Hug Me” piece further than that that hugging is one of my favorite things. 🙂

I’m a Taurus so I connected with this collage Beef Ribs Longhorn by Jean-Michel Basquiat.P1480404

Before I even read the caption, this mixed media collage reminded me of Manhattan, a city I called home for over 11 years. Good work by Mark Bradford. Per the sign on its side: “Across 110th Street gets its title from the eponymous 1072 Blaxploitation film as well as from the social and physical dividing line between Harlem and the rest of Manhattan.”

America (the U.S.A. in this case) is represented in a grand way.  Firstly by Jasper John, known for this oversized, gigantic flag. P1480393

And in duplicate by Glenn Ligon.P1480336

Also represented, curiously, with a tribute by Jeff Koons to actor/film director Buster Keaton.P1480344

A good segue to an Andy Warhol silkscreen P1480397 (this a self-portrait) and of his Two Marilyn Monroes that impressed me, even more, when I read that this one was number #27 in the silkscreening process. “The silkscreened image deteriorates with each printing, acting as a physical metaphor for the waning of fame and the fading of memory. Warhol’s diptych of Monroe is of an icon losing her essence, becoming distorted by time and saturated retelling.” Per the Broad as well: “Marilyn Monroe died in the early hours of August 5, 1962. A few weeks later, Andy Warhol began silkscreening Monroe’s face onto canvases. Using a portrait of the celebrated star taken from a publicity still, Warhol cropped tight around the edges of Monroe’s face and hair with a grease pencil. Warhol had only learned how to silkscreen a few months earlier, but already he was able to achieve his desired effect with the medium.”

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I reached a painting so big, in five panels, that I could not photograph it complete so I do it in pieces. Initially, I thought that it was by a female painter for some reason; the painter, Lari Pittman, has said he is gay and a feminist so I guess I wasn’t too far off.

I have a wish, a P1480371 (Desire, painting by Edward Ruscha), that I have not bored you. That you have learned something and that you will want to return to the museum by my hand or without me.

If you have not enjoyed visiting with me,  P1480365 (I’m Sorry by Roy Lichtenstein).

We are going to get literary on our next trip.

Categories: Los Angeles, The Broad, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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