Ten ThousandVisions




Magritte, LACMA and Pan

By Michael Divine on January 5th, 2007

Yesterday we went to Los Angeles to stop by the fabric district, see the Magritte show at LACMA, Pan’s Labyrinth at the Arclight and then to visit our friend Robin over in Venice around the corner from where we lived last year.

Magritte…We think of bowler caps and green apples. We are not too far off and if we see the silhouette of a man in a bowler cap (as we did later passing some bar in Hollywood) we recognize immediately the icon as borrowed from Magritte. But to say he is all bowler caps and apples is to say Dali was all melting watches and ants. The difference between the two however is that Dali tried exhaustively to probe his own subconscious with his artwork, finding great meaning and relation between the subtlest of details within his work. On the other hand, Magritte on the other hand often took seemingly unrelated objects, created compositions around them and left the viewer to decipher their meanings, like gestalt ink blot tests. Now, while we immensely enjoyed seeing such a large collection of Magritte’s in one place- allowing us to see multiple nuances within his work and admire the fine subtleties of his uses of color and shadow, we found the “contemporary’ art besides which it was juxtaposed was, well, mostly crap. It seems the art world likes to over look the people like Vladimir Kush who, as far as we are concerned, is the artist most closely following Magritte in style, form and approach. Both of the artists have a soft and forgiving approach to their medium and a calm quietude about their pieces. Ah, but Kush is perhaps to fine an artist. There are the “inner circles” of the LA art world and they were strongly represented. They represent mostly pain, turmoil, a word under a photo, another that is a mirrored photo with a palindrome over it…feeble attempts to mimic a master. As I said, if they really sought to display the legacy of Magritte, the curators would have looked further than what the Los Angeles art scene had to show them…

Later, after some tea and cookies, we went to see Pan’s Labyrinth at the Arclight. The Arclight Theater is a pretty big grand theater in Hollywood and it was the only good theater to see the movie in. It wasn’t showing in San Diego and in fact was only showing in large cities. It made us wonder how many movies we miss out on down here… I won’t give anything away other than saying it was a powerful fantasy but suffered a bit of what “The Fountain” did in the previews we saw- more of the fantasy side of the movie and less of the reality while the movie itself is more half and half of both with some pretty gritty dramatic scenes… We left rather stunned and awestruck… a brilliant tragic fantasy and yet… not so tragic…

And that is the TenThousanVisions movie and museum review…. Mmmmm…..

Later we visited Robin…Shared some things about our recent trips to see our respective familes. How different we are from our families! How much we grow and change and how much we could share with them if only they would let us. Instead, they get so entrenched in their ways, in their “knowing how things are done”…

Later, after a quick bit of sushi, we were on the road again, on our way home, an hour and half, with the Talking Heads and Radiohead to guide us…

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