To-Do Today: From Street Art Grit to the Luxe of Louis XV


If you can't stand the heat, get into the Getty Center or Geffen Contemporary today. Seriously, it's today or never if you're going to catch two exhibitions here in L.A. worth your Sunday.

At the Getty Center, "Paris: Life & Luxury" is an enchanting amuse bouche of the extravagant heights pleasant society during Louix XV's reign underwent in even the most mundane moments of daily life. Even if you've seen these kinds of items before (and I certainly have), it was still worth the afternoon last week to see this presentation. From corseted gowns to a porcelain playing card box, a mustard container to a telescope, no item escaped the gilded touch of hundreds of unknown artisans.

Given the recent trash talk in D.C. over the debt crisis, the Getty exhibition is expecially pungent as a study of how far the rich will go at the cost of those outside their carved exotic wood doors—which even the wealthy during the 18th century enjoyed. It's also a great excuse to take in L.A. from one of the greatest viewing points. Le show closes today.

At the other end of town and of the visual spectrum is "Art in the Streets" at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. It's a dizzying survey of graffiti and other forms of street art since the late 1960s, and associate curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose did a remarkable job pulling together all of the elements, from artist notebooks to the skateboard ramps installed for the show. There are dark rooms showing videos and shorts providing a place to recharge. And do not miss the timeline section hovering above the Geffen's cavernous gallery.

In fact, there might be too much. To be honest, Andy and I were a wee perplexed at some of the inclusions. But these are minor distractions given all the varied ingredients mixed in, as well as the astounding installations that will come down Tuesday morning. We loved seeing the likes of Jamie Reid's work for the Sex Pistols (the image above, not that you'd confuse it with the equally sexy image below!).

MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch shared with me at Glenn Kaino's birthday party last month that the exhibition might still have a second life in New York. The folks at the Brooklyn Museum of Art wimped out following media frenzy that the show here was behind an increase in tagging— a tale not corroborated based on previous year's tagging—and that the same could happen in New York. I'm no fan of tagging, which is mostly fatuous, uninspired dribble. But there is a great and long tradition of street art (which goes back centuries, of course) that has served up more, a lot more.

Thankfully, not everyone shares the Brooklyn Museum's opinion, and another site might step up to present it.

After all, New York is the birthplace of pop art in all its incarnations. Then again, so was the art of Andy Warhol. Yet it took a gallery in Los Angeles to be the first to take a chance on that guy.

Go today or go tomorrow, its final day here or, possibly anywhere.

François Boucher's "Lady Fastening Her Garter, also known as La Toilette" (1742)

Posted in Art, Current Affairs, Design, Film, Music, Style

Leave a Comment