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Lost Around Los Angeles: My West Coast Twitter Report

Alexander Calder, "Three Quintains (Hello Girls)," 1964, Director's Roundtable Garden at Los Angeles County Museum of Art Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Alexander Calder, “Three Quintains (Hello Girls),” 1964, Director’s Roundtable Garden at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

I’ve just burrowed into my blog-cave after a week away in not-so-sunny California on a vacation that ended with a friend’s wedding celebration. Although I didn’t blog, I did (as promised) tweet some art-related musings @CultureGrrl.

With my usual nose for news, I stumbled upon an interesting occurence (described below) while on an “unofficial” visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to catch its must-see Frank Gehry-designed Calder retrospective, consisting largely (but not entirely) of works from the Calder Foundation.

I also stumbled upon director Michael Govan, who happened to sit down with a couple of guests an at outdoor table next to the one where CultureSpouse and I were caffeinating to counter museum fatigue.

One thing that struck me at LACMA, which I didn’t tweet about, was the paucity of visitors in the Art of the Ancient Americas galleries, where the garishly over-the-top 2008 reinstallation, designed by artist Jorge Pardo (viewed more favorably by the LA TimesChristopher Knight), did not include the use of bilingual labels to better serve the area’s substantial Latino population:


By contrast, bilingual labels are standard throughout the San Diego Museum of Art, which I also briefly visited last week (but didn’t tweet about). Here’s the label for a highlight in that museum’s Asian galleries:


Near the top of my Storify, below, I mention my surprise that the label for Gainsborough‘s celebrated “Blue Boy” at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (which I visited for the first time) is mute about the identity of the subject, named on the institution’s website as Jonathan Buttall. This apparently triggered a change in the website, which, at this writing, no longer identifies the subject.

Here’s why, as explained to me today by Thea Page, the Huntington’s director of marketing communication:

Art historian Sue Sloman has been researching the painting for years and made a strong argument (as published the April 2013 edition of Burlington) that the sitter for the painting is not Buttall. She argues it may actually be Gainsborough’s nephew, Gainsborough Dupont. For this reason we decided to delete mention of Buttall in the gallery, and will soon do so on the web site, too. [This now appears to have been done.]

Now come wander with me through the land of trauma-inducing traffic, heat lamps that make unseasonably cool weather tolerable at almost every outdoor eatery, and (new to me) jacarandas! (Please click the link at the bottom of this page to see the last two tweets in this Storify.)

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