The West Coast
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2,073,000 to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which will use it to launch an undergraduate fellowship in tandem with the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
When my plane broke through the Los Angeles smog on an afternoon in early spring, I imagined I had willed the town into existence by nothing more than my arrival. It’s the city’s foundational myth—perpetually born yesterday. I was there to cover an art fair called Paris Photo, which was being held at that most mythic of L.A. landmarks—Paramount Studios—and to report on the city’s art world. If New York had a say in the matter, it was something of an accident of history that there were ever artists in Los Angeles at all. The dealers and collectors were always in New York. And who could force the entertainment industry to care? For decades, the most noteworthy thing about successful Los Angeles artists—aside from a core group—was that they left for the East Coast.
The reality is more complicated. New York changed. Downtown ceased being a squatter’s free-for-all and became an outdoor shopping center. The S&M clubs and taxi garages of Chelsea gave way to galleries stacked on top of one another. Increasingly, the creatively minded transplants who migrated each day to New York from all over the country came with expiration dates. Ten years would go by, if you were lucky, before the inevitable fatigue set in. So many migrants have gone to California as a solution to some problem that it’s become an American trope. But in a town where the front page of the largest daily newspaper reports the unsubstantiated rumor that industry blogger Nikki Finke would be fired from Deadline Hollywood, the arts have quietly carved out a home. New York just got more and more expensive.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced today the dates and honorees for its 2012 “Art + Film Gala.” The event will take place Oct. 27 and will honor artist Ed Ruscha and director Stanley Kubrick, with Steven Spielberg paying tribute to the late filmmaker.
This weekend, the Los Angeles Times published a profile of art collector Nicolas Berggruen, who is known to some by the epithet “the homeless billionaire” because, the paper explains, “he prefers living out of five-star hotels to owning any homes.” Mr. Berggruen is also a voracious art buyer and has gone about collecting in a very specific way. Here’s the Times‘ Jori Finkel:
“For Berggruen has over the last year quietly spent tens of millions of dollars buying museum-quality works by 12 leading contemporary artists, which he says he intends to donate to [the Los Angeles County Museum of Art]—if some general conditions are met.”
An article published by the AP about artist Chris Burden’s latest work–Metropolis II–says the piece is the artist’s prediction of the future. And what does the future hold for Chris Burden? No traffic jams, presumably.