Saturday, January 31, 2009

Even More Red Sculpture Fun

Balboa Park, San Diego

Lesson learnt: America hearts the Red Sculpture.


We spent most of our time in the LACMA dodging gallery security as they herded people out of the Ahmanson due to some swanky art shindig they were hosting.

With that being said, our experience of the galleries tended to be the 'how much art can one see in four minutes' approach. We split our time like this:

-2 seconds worth of The Treachery of Images
-1 minute and 25 seconds with Agnes Martin
- 59 seconds admiring Diebenkorn's Ocean Park Series No. 49
-1 minute and 34 seconds of being personally escorted out of the second floor by attendants

Once our four minutes with modern art was up, we decided to check out the strange Francis Alÿs collection Fabiola. A room filled with over 300 reproductions of the Saint takes the word repetition to a whole new level. Funny thing is that a good number of them are actually copies of the original reproductions due to Alÿs lending a portion of the collection to a gallery who then produced the copies in order to cover up the fact that they had somehow misplaced a whole load of em, thinking that Alÿs wouldn't notice. Francis, being the smart chap he is, wasn't fooled but ended up liking the copies just as much and held onto them.

Funky Fact as told by a helpful gallery attendant (they were far and few between at the LACMA): Fabiola is the patron Saint of difficult marriages, cuckolds and abuse victims.

There was also a large Warhol, Koons and Baldessari show on along with other usual American suspects (Johns, Rauschenberg etc.) After having small tidbits of Koons being fed to us throughout the trip, we were delighted to have finally stumbled across a decent collection of his work which also included some of his most recent paintings done last year.

We then had a dance in amongst Chris Burden's Urban Light while watching another security attendant yelling at a man who's umbrella was apparently too close to the lamps. For once, we were glad it wasn't us they were telling off...

- Agnes

Friday, January 30, 2009

Aw look who's back...

...and bringing you jetlagged goods from the city of smog (L to the A)

Above are pictures from a curious place we visited called the Museum of Jurassic Technology, yet another point of interest introduced into our circle by the generous Carnegie Mellon tutors.

This amateur museum (which is really just a converted house on a Culver City street) deals with odd collections and displays in ways that leave you questioning "Are you for real?".

There was a whole room full of model trailerparks. And another room full of old stereoscope technology. Exhibits also had accompanying writing, which is where things started to get weird. Each room then tended to lead to another room which then led to another. It's set out very much like a maze to further disorientate, removing logic and sensibility from the minds of those who enter

But the best part was the way they used tricks of light and mirrors to create, not only a beautiful aesthetic, but a layered atmosphere. One which you could easily get lost in for hours on end.

They have a gift store to die for and on top of that, they serve free tea and bikkies upstairs in the tranquil tearoom. Then pop next door to the Center for Land Use Interpretation and see what they have exhibiting as well.

Visit this place you must

- Agnes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Will be trippin' round Los Angeles and San Diego in a convertible for the next week. Depending on how things go, we may or maynot post till we get home. Apologies if that is the case. Otherwise till next time!

- Agnes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Work at Macy's

Claudia drawing her heart out

'Dalano' hard at work

Shopping around Union Square/being ambushed by a man outside Macy's. His wish was simple, he wanted us to draw and express ourselves with some coloured markers and a piece of cardboard. Being the up-for-anything art students we are, we obliged (although a little dubiously).

He soon introduced himself as 'Dalano', and his tale was also simple: he had been setting up a project which he called 'The Real Star Movement' where he sits outside the aforementioned department store and coaxes people to draw. He invited me to draw over a picture of a spider's web that he previously did. He sang us a lovely song. He has a very nice voice. Dalano tells us that over 6000 people have participated in his project. He also said that in doing so, he got a job working at Macy's selling womens shoes. Dalano even gave me his card:

We did our drawings and bid adieu.

Yet another night in the City.

- Agnes

p.s. Having just come from an exhibition around the idea of Participation, I think this experience was rather fitting. Perhaps I could give Dalano's number to the MoMA...yes?

MoMA - Take Two!

The biggest difference you find between the New York MoMA and the one in San Francisco is the people. Or lack thereof. Which in a way was rather nice, because I was getting sick of being shoved out of the way so someone can get closer to the Manet. It gets rather tiresome I must say...

But yes, with a smaller museum, perhaps comes more intimacy, where we could actually look properly at work and not worry that we would not have enough time to see it all.

There was a show on Participation, with most of the usuals (Ono, Abramovic etc). Was very standard and covered most ground. It was also rather hands on (or else it wouldn't be called participation would it?)which meant that we could run around the museum touching art (real art!), making one minute sculptures and seeing how many Gonzalez-Torres posters we could run off with without the attendant getting mad (I was a kind citizen and only took one).

The special exhibition happened to be Martin Purveyor, an artist that I can't say I was particularly familiar with. While we were perusing the Purveyor exhibit, there just so happened to be a tour group passing by. Being the sneaky eavesdropper I am, I hung round hoping to perhaps learn something interesting about the exhibit. This really only reinforced my thoughts of tour groups being horribly patronising (hence why I do not bother with them most of the time). The show, however, was also a good overview of the works from Purveyor, with my personal favourite being a large piece of wood that he gessoed and sanded down. That man has mega skills of the building kind.

Claudia was particularly excited to see a tutor of hers (Jon Rubin) from Carnegie showing at the museum as well. And we had some fun participating in the 1000 Journals project and flexing plastic power/racking up some nice student debt at the gift store (despite the plummet in the NZ dollar...blaaaaast).

SFMoMA was a different pace. Less grand and more play-it-safe. They didn't really put a foot wrong. But they didn't really get me going nuts either. It was an art middleground.

- Agnes

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Another weird thing us Kiwis do in the Fran' is trek to the Pirate Shop at 826 Valencia.

This is a writer/artist non-profit organisation that helps kids and teachers become enthused about writing. A social experiment of sorts. They also sell a lot of zines and other stuff done by local writers in the area. As well as drawings done by patrons.

Claudia learnt about the store in one of her Carnegie classes, hence why we were wanting to go. Plus, who doesn't like pirates?

We all came away with dubloons as souvenirs. Good times.

- Agnes


The funny thing about travelling is you start to notice everything that reminds you of home.

Example 1: Whilst walking through the Botannical gardens the other day, the first garden we go into is the 'New Zealand Garden' complete with native fern.

Example 2: Whilst walking into the 49 Geary Building, the first gallery we go to just so happens to be showing Max Gimblett.


Whatever the case, we were delighted to be able to stumble across this bit of New Zealand in the USA. The work was pretty Gimblett standard. The same iconic shapes he uses, the gold and silver leaf and the resin etc...we took extra pictures for you Laxmi...

The gallery also had a copy of Art New Zealand that we were, for once, happy to flick through. We are starting to miss home...

- Agnes

49 Geary

The rest of the fruit from our Geary trippin'. Overall, the San Francisco gallery scene tends to have less crap than the New York Chelsea scene. Both Claud and I walked away rather happy with some of the stuff we saw. A lot of it was very painting heavy (which is nice for us painters), I guess this is partly due to the fact that it was dealer galleries that resided in the building.

My favourite show would have to have been the one where the curator brought together four very different artists from Shanghai that all were interested in the growing nature of both east/west in the city and the effects of urban culture and those living there etc.

I also enjoyed the exhibition of a group of drawings done by an artist when he was four years old. Light and simple. We like.

One thing we didn't like was the people working in the galleries. Cranky is the best adjective to be using...inner city pressure anyone?

Cruising through Chinatown on our bikes, we stopped briefly to take a picture in front of some random sculptures (I think they were for sale in this strange antique show). Enjoy.

- Agnes