Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday night adventures: "In Wonderland"

Despite the fact that we did not celebrate the big V-day for a variety of reasons (nice use of double "v" there), such as grading quizzes and someone taking an art class and two people not really seeing each other that day, our Friday night more than made up for an overblown, commercialized and fabricated tribute to love and romance.  Can you tell how I feel about the whole day?  I certainly don't mean to be a total cynic, but I'm skeptical.  Not about chocolate, wine and flowers, but people (corporations - oh, wait, corporations ARE people now thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling) telling that I'm either supposed to give them or receive them on a certain day.

Back to last night which was not, fortunately, a forced romantic holiday.  It was, however, Friday and the perfect reason to venture out of our usual local haunts.  We braved crowds and traffic and found our way to LACMA (LA County Museum of Art).  My parents gave us a membership for Christmas this year, and this was the first moment that we could to take advantage of our new membership status.  One major advantage of the membership is that we can spend as much or as little time as we want.  Last night, our main purpose was to see the exhibit "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States". And see it we did!  I thought that it might be packed like the Tim Burton exhibit we saw over the summer, but fortunately it was super calm and we could take our time and really enjoy the art we saw (or enjoy the art that we liked).  It was well organized - great information and well laid-out.  I definitely liked some of the art but not all of it, which seems pretty standard.  I was, however, excited that they had quite a few works by Remedios Varo.  She's a Spanish painter who left the "madre patria" after Franco took over in '39.  I saw an extensive exhibit of her work when I was in Mexico City back in 94 (long time ago!).
These were two of the works on exhibit - the first one is called "Creation of the Birds" and the second is "Woman Leaving Psychoanalyst".  I like to imagine that she is carrying the head of the analyst, or of her father?!

There were plenty of paintings by Frida and some other women artists.  The photographs by Lee Miller, who was Man Ray's assistant but became an accomplished photographer on her own, were pretty great too.
This, however, was not my favorite:
Don't even ask me what this is...

After that exhibit, we also spent some time wandering around the California Design exhibit which we both loved, of course.  It is strange because I certainly still feel like an interloper here in Southern CA, someone who is just visiting (for a few years), and this exhibit perhaps reminded me why I feel like a visitor in such a glamorous place in terms of the "American experience".  I don't think that I'm expressing this very well, but so much in the exhibit was familiar from movies and my sense of America in the 40's, 50's and 60's, but this is certainly not a reality that I've ever personally lived, I've just experienced it through film and TV.  So, that brings me back to California.  Some of my favorite items from the exhibit - the Airstreamer and a nice little surfboard. Both are so Californian!

By the time we wandered through these two exhibits, museum headache had started to take hold (or it was a hunger headache), and we decided to leave in search of food.  Our first choice, Plan A, was way too busy at 7:30 pm on a Friday night.  The second choice, Chi Dynasty in Los Feliz, was pretty slammed but they had a few two-tops, so we sat down with no problems.  It was quite fun to be back at Chi Dynasty - it literally had been years or at least a year and a half since our last visit.  What I like about Chi, in addition to their food, is that they also make great drinks.  I had a St. Germaine cocktail that was awesome.  The dining experience as a whole was not amazing, mainly because there was a table of loud, shrill girls (heavily-made-up 20-somethings) sitting next to us, and their conversation made my ear hurt.  But the food hit the spot, and it was good for us to leave our usual restaurant haunts!

Sad to say, by the time we arrived home, I was ready for bed - apparently  an exciting night on the town for us ends at 9:00 pm!


Kalli said...

i love this! i too wonder about the forced love and find it is better to be spontaneous and do i dare say love eachother every day of the year instead of one "false" day? glad you had a great time!

ChezJulie said...

That sounds like a great exhibit. There is a large collection of surrealistic at art at one of them museums here in my city. I have been really, really, really bad about going to exhibits in recent years though.

Was any of that part of the Pacific Standard Time exhibit going on across L.A.? I am kind of fascinated by the art community's attempt to go back retrospectively and explore what artists were doing in the mid-century and make it one cohesive project.

Kristina said...

Kalli - Yes, well, I'm a bit cynical. Not about the nature of love, but yes about V-day. Fortunately it's over for another year!

ChezJulie - Both of the exhibits were really great. We go through phases when it comes to hitting major exhibits.
The design exhibit certainly fits into the Pacific Standard Time project. I'm still kind of skeptical about LA as a place of 'amazing' art. Design, definitely, and different forms of art, but I really don't think that it can compare to other places. Just my opinion!