“Urban Lights” by Chris Burden. Permanent installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Frank Gehry Masterpieces~~
Frank Gehry, my favorite architect in the world, is a Canadian-born American architect who calls Los Angeles home. A number of his buildings, including his private residence in Santa Monica, and his most famous designs, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Lost Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, have become world-renowned attractions. Gehry’s recent and ongoing projects include a new Guggenheim facility in Abu Dhabi, the new Facebook headquarters in California, and a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C., slated to be constructed at the foot of Capitol Hill. This month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has a special exhibit of Gehry’s body of work from the early 1960s—when he established his firm in Los Angeles—to the present, including his current work. I went to see it and, as always, was mesmerized by Gehry’s genius. He is more than an architect: he is an artist. His buildings are gigantic sculptures and, while not for everyone’s taste, they are at very least impressive. I am a huge fan and have photographed several of his buildings around L.A. and in other places. I’ll share some of them here along with their respective models, which are featured in the exhibit.
Photographers must have a good eye, see things others might miss. Sometimes, when looking for that new take, a different angle, the photographer makes “discoveries,” catching something unexpected. Such “discoveries” may bring joy and pride. “Wow! look what I caught in this shot!” But they may be disturbing, heartbreaking.
When shooting a series of Rodin sculptures at LACMA, I was drawn to the hands of a particular piece. As I started to shoot them from different angles, I noticed something in one of the hands. It looked like a small pile of leaves, or dirt. But as I zoomed in… A heartbreaking image. A tiny little bird, resting in peace, at the palm of the sculpture’s hand. How did it get there? Was it put there by some silly prankster? Or did it choose to rest there, cradled in the hand sculpted by genius? What a disturbing, heartbreaking discovery…
Ode to Santos Dumont~~
Today I went to see the last work of American artist Chris Burden, who died in May of this year shortly before this exhibit opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “The performing sculpture, Ode to Santos Dumont, pays homage to ingenuity, optimism, and the persistence of experimentation, failure, and innovation. Inspired by Brazilian-born pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, widely considered the father of aviation in France and Brazil, the kinetic airship sculpture was recently completed after a decade of research and work by Burden.” The work is powered by a quarter-scale version of a 1903 De Dion gasoline motor handcrafted by machinist and inventor John Biggs.” Biggs appears in my photos and is responsible for the performance part of the exhibit, which happens every two hours. As a Brazilian, I had to go see this exhibit before it closes next weekend. I took lots of photos and even made some videos (not quite my forte) that WordPress wouldn’t allow me to upload… So here is my ode to the late Chris Burden and to my compatriot, Alberto Santos Dumont.
Honoring Chris Burden (4/11/1946 – 5/10/2015) ~~
If you’ve ever visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), you’ve seen “Urban Light,” Chris Burden’s installation in the form of a classical Greek temple composed of 202 antique cast-iron street lamps. This permanent installation has been at LACMA since 2008 and is now one of the symbols of Los Angeles. I fell in love with “Urban Light” the first time I set eyes on it. No matter which angle you look at it you’ll discover something new and beautiful, not only in the lamps themselves but in the way they are displayed. So, so pretty…
Today we woke up to news that Chris Burden had died. He was only 69 and would’ve had so much more to give to the art world had he not lost his battle with cancer. I am honoring him with some of the photos I’ve taken of his wonderful “Urban Light.”
This week we are challenged to show Serenity. Here’s where I find serenity.