Getty Center, Impressionism & a Lack of Light

The sky above Los Angeles on Sunday, May 24, 2009; a perfect day for a visit to the temple of conspicuous art consumption, the Getty Center. Although it is easy to rail against it, it is an amazing visual experience.
center plaza
The center plaza provides a meeting place for Los Angelenos, remarkably democratic and beautifully scaled for intimate encounters; and the opportunity to enjoy humanity–everyone friendly, awestruck, sunstruck; complete with shady nooks & sunny vistas, city one side, the ocean other and that amazing California light: sparkling, ocean sprayed, refracted like a kaleidoscope, beloved by artists.
The Robert Irwin-designed gardens resolve themselves in the azalea maze at the end of a meandering gravel path, accompanied by the ever-changing music of water running over a stone bed from its fountainhead off the plaza. Richard Meier, the architect of the Center called it Irwin’s urinal in a fit of pique & architectural droit de seigneur.
Did someone invite Pixar to animate the flowers?

St. Sebastian tended by St. Veronica; not only visually erotic, but texturally too, smooth application of paint like sweat on a heaving breast, blurred by passion.

Constant movement of visitors confounds the visual experience, especially in the photography exhibits that require closer, more intimate inspection & reflection.
Retail opportunities abound.
“I’m leaving you.”
“But I told you…”
The Impressionist galleries are always packed and the movement of visitors is completely disconcerting. I’m bored with Impressionism–it rarely challenges you–but look at the crowds–is it just too easy anymore?
A docent gathers her charges outside one of the exhibit halls before beginning her tour.
A series of middles…

One of the few times there was a respite from the padding of rubber & leather soles (souls.)
A teen jitters in boredom from a lack of digital access and with his parents hovering & oohing & aahing over art they’re ill-equipped to explain in any relevant way to him. Why are the arts the first in line for school budget cuts?
A potent combination of art, architecture, site, sun, life, plant, stone, flesh, exquisite in spite of itself.

We did take in the Paul Outerbridge exhibit–the most telling comment from my friend, S., was that his work lacked a light source. His commercial photos as well as his ‘art’ photos are flat, almost a signature if you will. All of us found his still lives (commercial) & his nudes (art) the most compelling images. He was a master of composition.


2 Responses to “Getty Center, Impressionism & a Lack of Light”

  1. 1 nina kuriloff
    May 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    i like the shot of the blue sky and pics of flowers very much!

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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