Getty Villa Museum is now open (in Pacific Palisades)



The museums are opening! Many are now free and some require advance timed reservations (due to limited capacity) so check before you go. Masking and social distancing are also required. The Getty Villa’s remarkable exhibit Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins features rare works on loan from the Musée du Louvre Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York and Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The “land between the rivers” in modern-day Iraq was the center of many ancient achievements: cuneiform (script writing); city design; astronomy; mathematics and other artistic and literary accomplishments.  Don’t miss their blooming gardens and the antiquity galleries. The Getty Center will be opening later this month with a number of new exhibits.

Other open museums include:  LA County Museum of Art; Natural History Museum (with a cool insect exhibit); The Aquarium of the Pacific; The Autry Museum of the America West; The California Science Center; The Peterson; and The Huntington Library where the newly restored The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough is now on display. The Broad will opening May 26 with free timed tickets. Check out their amazing Invisible Sun exhibit. Note: The popular Infinity Mirror room remains closed. The downtown Grammy Museum will open May 21 with three new exhibits: Dave Matthew’s Band: Motown; Y Para Siempre – Marco Antonio Solice and This is Not (Nat) King. MOCA – The Museum of Contemporary Art is scheduled to open June 3.

Check your favorite museum’s website for details.

Ai Weiwei: Trace Exhibition at Skirball Cultural Center (May 15 – Aug 1, 2021)

AI Weiwei: Trace

  • By Cynthia Lum
  • Photo Courtesy of AI WEIWEI STUDIO

The Skirball Cultural Center will resume indoor museum operations this May with the Southern California debut of Ai Weiwei: Trace. Created by Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most provocative and socially engaged living artists, the installation features portraits made up of thousands of plastic LEGO® bricks, each assembled by hand and laid out on the floor. These portraits depict individuals from around the world whom Ai and leading human-rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech. The body of work is shaped by Ai’s own experiences as an outspoken human-rights activist: In 2011, he was arrested, interrogated, and incarcerated by the Chinese government for eighty-one days. Upon release, he was kept under surveillance and prohibited from traveling abroad or engaging in public speech until 2015. Since that time, Ai’s art has increasingly centered around the theme of freedom of expression.

“Like Ai Weiwei, the individuals in Trace have been incarcerated or exiled because of their convictions and activism,” commented Jessie Kornberg, Skirball President and CEO. “We are honored to present this monumental work, which, by way of a disarmingly playful medium, examines courage and conscience in the face of authoritarianism and challenges us to recommit to the work of safeguarding our most basic democratic ideals.” The exhibition will showcase eighty-three of the work’s original 176 and will be on view from May 15 through August 1.

For more details, click here.

BBAX Presents Christian Castro’s Robotix: Intersections of Art & Technology Exhibition (now – June 5, 2021)

RobotiX at BBAX

  • By Cynthia Lum
  • Photo Courtesy of BBAX

RobotiX at Building Bridges Art Exchange features the work of Argentinean artist, Cristian Castro, highlighting the synergies between art, technology, and robots. Castro’s work is a feat of engineering and creativity, repurposing discarded vintage household appliances and old mechanical tools and incorporating them into his robotic works. Embedded in the ergonomic curvature of the robot’s metal parts, Castro points to the neglected virtues of technology: simplistic beauty, object provenance, and the process of invention. Castro gravitates towards found objects because of their history, giving found pieces with deep history and old technologies new life. They have a past purpose and experience. His fascination with the provenance of these found objects informs his desire to give them a transformed existence and extend their life. A rebirth of discarded items energizes these artworks with a vibrancy of a newfound purpose. In his creative process, Castro looks to the cosmos as a source of inspiration. As a playground for modern invention, the mysteries of the outer limits of our universe drive the artist to contemplate new dialogues around the function of technology and our search for aesthetic satisfaction in our daily lives. The artist highlights function and form, removing these objects from their original functional purpose and re-contextualizes them into a pure appreciation of form. By shedding their utilitarian expectations, these robots’ aesthetic value becomes elevated to an idiosyncratic nature, bridging the gap between technology and art.

BBAX is located at Bergamot Santa Monica. For more details, click here.

Bruce Munro Light at Sensorio Light Towers (Photo Chris-Hardy)

Light Towers

  • By Cynthia Lum
  • Photo By Chris Hardy

Sensorio, the stunning immersive art destination in Paso Robles, California, has reopened with a newly added installation featuring Bruce Munro’s Light Towers in an entirely new, adjacent viewing area. For this expanded exhibition, Sensorio enlisted Munro to create a vibrant new illuminated work that pays tribute to the 200+ wineries and vineyards that blanket Paso Robles’ beautiful rolling hills. Light Towers features 69 towers composed of more than 17,000 wine bottles, illuminated with glowing optic fibers whose colors morph to a custom musical score. Light Towers is inspired by Munro’s earlier work Water-Towers, originally created for and exhibited at the spectacular arcaded cloisters at Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England.

This new installation expands Munro’s work at Sensorio, for which he created an unparalleled immersive experience in a breathtaking otherworld. His 15-acre Field of Light at Sensorio utilizes over 58,800 stemmed spheres lit by fiber-optics, gently illuminating the landscape in subtle blooms of morphing color, through which the public may stroll. The exhibit has attracted some 200,000 visitors since its opening in 2019, is larger in size than any other Munro exhibition internationally and is Munro’s first US exhibit entirely powered by solar. It was singled out by The New York Times as #6 in its “52 Places to Go in 2020.”

Sensorio’s expanded walk-through exhibition, now titled Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio, will be open to the public through September 30, 2021. For tickets and information, click here