Overthinking so you don't have to.
Rounding off what felt like a whirlwind couple of months, Bill and I banked in on a Virgin America sale and finally made a trip down to LA to catch up with friends. First and foremost, I have to thank everyone who drove us, hosted us, and met up with us that weekend. We didn’t rent a car, and yet somehow managed to cover all the cool parts of LA in less than 48 hours. We’re grateful for friends like all of you!
First stop after landing was to hit up Disneyland for about two minutes. Fantasyland is my ultimate favorite Disney district. I love it I love it I love it. Didn’t get to steal the apple from the witch on the Snow White ride but there’s always next time. If you eat an entire monte cristo sandwich in the New Orleans district (either at Cafe Orleans or the bougie Blue Bayou), you will probably die. Because why? Because #thisiswhyyourefat.
We then zipped off to a screening and Q&A of The People I’ve Slept With (mediocre, unfortunately, but Edith and I took photos with Lynn Chen! And I finally met Helen, a blogger friend, IRL.), met Janani’s pipsqueak Bailey, and went to bed. The next morning We did brunch in Santa Monica, discussed how yuppie the farmers’ market bike valet was, made my inaugural trip to the Getty, said hello to Martin at his GR2 signing, and scarfed down Umami Burger before we flew back home. I’ll just have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to do a thorough recap of each moment of that weekend. Despite having taken copious-for-a-vacation notes throughout the days, I just can’t get to it all.
Instead of going into laborious nuances that no one else cares about, I’ll just say I really loved the Getty. If I lived in LA, I would go there every Sunday. (Can people get married there? Cause then I’d have three wishes for a future wedding.)
Standard overhead garden shot.
I love miniature things.
I am all over this bougainvillea business! I want structures like these in my future backyard.
Wonder where the Cingular guys got the tower idea…
Even the maintenance door just seems cooler-than-norm.
So clean! Kinda looks like an upside-down pool, but otherwise, very pretty.
This inverted vessel fountain blew mind.
I also bought the most awesome hat in Santa Monica. Hats and watches and vintage scarves! I’m becoming an anachronistic whore after all.
Super Amateur Art Response
The weekend before LA, a few of us went to the Pixar exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California. It was a fantastic exhibit. So much fun, and you don’t need a degree in Art History to appreciate it. The zoetrope!
The installation at the Getty was The Spectacular Art of Jean-Leon Gerome. Absolutely full of detailed Orientalist works, it was interesting to see pieces often used as historical references for films after having seen art that was developed solely for films. It was completely unplanned that we’d see two consecutive art exhibits that’d tie into each other so much. (At least in my head.)
Obviously Gerome and Pixar represent completely different eras with largely different methods of production and results. In looking at Gerome’s works in-progress, though, you have to formally recognize the studies he did of movement – which I found to be a perfect segue into early animation studies of objects in movement. Of course it all sounds very basic, but the Getty curator did a really good job of explaining Gerome’s significance to modern art and theory, and having just come from such a modern exhibit of 3D animation art, well, I just had to give credit to the guy.
Gerome’s work is pretty interesting to consider from an identity politics perspective. He lived and his work thrived in a world surrounded by orientalism. Taste was governed by how exotic something was, it seemed, and without cameras, curious minds were subject to depending on artist interpretations of things overseas. In the famed “The Snake Charmer,” Gerome fills the background with Middle Eastern-ish curves and lines inspired by actual lettering and decoration. It seems that with many of Gerome’s depictions of foreign scenes, he did hodgepodges of styles and simplified elements when he did not have the luxury of sketching and drawing in detail throughout the frame.
I was particularly intrigued by Gerome’s paintings of “exotic” crowds. I feel like “All Asians look the same” started with Gerome’s orientalist works. I’m sure he just didn’t have time to draw everybody, but in pieces where he’s capturing an entire room full of people ogling some royal ritual, every non-Euro face pretty much looks like the same dude, over and over again.
What an interesting thought, that Gerome was criticized for being too commercial in his time. It’s as if I cannot reconcile the idea that a person with such skill could never be regarded as “commercial.” Not that I think the world today is completely devoid of such talent and skill, but it makes you wonder how a modern-day Gerome would make ends meet. Would they end up going “commercial,” too? (I also probably have a hard time registering that something that takes so much time as to paint on a grand scale could be regarded as superficially commercial, but I guess Gerome was bound for that response in being so willing to try out mass reproduction.)
And just for kicks, Maria Smith did a pretty amusing advertising-gone-art blogger analysis of “What Do Jean-Leon Gerome and Don Draper Have in Common?”