LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) features some exceptional art exhibitions – here are some of LAArtParty staff favorites. First I want to remind you to stop by the Zev Yaroslavsky Plaza to see Ai Weiwei’s installation. “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” references a long and ongoing story of cross-cultural exchange and collision between China and the West, beginning with a mid-18th century fountain at Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. The fountain, commissioned by Emperor Qianlong and designed by Jesuit priests promoting Catholicism in China, was used to tell time: 12 zodiac animal sculptures each spouted water for two hours (or one shichen) each day.

Installation photograph, Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the Yuz Foundation, © Ai Weiwei Studio, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

During the Second Opium War in 1860, the waterspouts were looted from Yuanmingyuan by French and British forces. Over the past 35 years, a number of the original waterspouts have appeared in auctions, including a 2009 auction that spurred controversial repatriation efforts and discussions of ownership, due to the European origin of the original designers. At present, seven of the original waterspouts have been located and returned to China, while the locations of the other five remain unknown.

From July 17 – December 11, 2022 –  BCAM, Level 1: Enjoy “Park Dae Sung: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush” by Park Dae Sung. The artist was born in 1945, the official end of both the Japanese colonization of Korea and WWII. In 1950, during the Korean War, his parents were killed by Communist soldiers, and he found solace in painting. Self-taught, Park has spent time in China, walked the Silk Road, and searched for the meaning of hanja (Chinese characters), the aesthetic foundation of his calligraphy and paintings.

“Park Dae Sung: Virtuous Ink and Contemporary Brush” spotlights paintings in Park’s signature style that catapulted the respected artist to the next level. With a single brush, he portrays his subjects by effortlessly fusing the aesthetics of East and West. This intimate exhibition invites the viewer to really see the brushstrokes and compositions up close. The two smaller paintings give us a sense of Park’s wide range of skills, from the hyperrealism of a Joseon bowl to the bird that emerges from one stroke.

Ongoing – Also in BCAM, Level 1:  Stop in to seen an ongoing exhibition by Richard Serra. “Band “ (2006) may qualify as Richard Serra’s magnum opus, representing the fullest expression of the formal vocabulary proffered by his monumental steel arcs and torqued ellipses of the 1980s and 1990s. Among the most formally elegant and technically complex works of Serra’s oeuvre, this sculpture took him two-and-a-half years to develop. At 12 feet high and more than 70 feet long, the work is vast even by Serra’s monumental standard. Careening aesthetically between bravado and elegance, Band bespeaks the ambitiousness of Serra’s artistic vision and his commitment to its physical realization.

“Band,” Richard Serra, 2006, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Eli and Edythe L. Broad, © Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Coming up…October 9, 2022–February 5, 2023 –  BCAM, Level 1:  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980, the first exhibition to examine the extensive design exchanges between the United States and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The exhibition considers Scandinavian design’s enduring impact on American culture, as well as the United States’ influence on Scandinavian design, over nearly 100 years of cultural exchange.

The exhibition is curated by Bobbye Tigerman, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator, Decorative Arts and Design at LACMA, and Monica Obniski, formerly Demmer Curator of 20th- and 21st-Century Design, Milwaukee Art Museum, now Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum of Art.

Visit LACMA’s website for more info about additional exhibitions along with hours, admission, etc.

Where: LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., LA 90036
Phone: (323) 857-6000