Petersen Auto Museum

Petersen Museum for Car Buffs and Others

Even if you’re not an auto aficionado (I’m not), one can surely find an element of oohs and ahs when visiting The Peterson Auto Museum in LA. Hard to miss the building itself: Like a crazy layer cake interspersed with red and metallic icing, the façade is wrapped in a spiraling whirl of metalwork resembling a car grill. Inside, even the stairwell appears as a vortex of chrome.

1981 Delorean Time Machine, Back to the Future

I was fascinated with the history of former celebrity-owned cars (Steve McQueen’s is there), futurist visions of transport with aircraft-inspired styling, and film vehicles such as the Winged Warrior 1989 Batmobile, Herbie the Love Bug, and the Delorean DMC12 Time Machine driven in “Back to the Future.”

Holy SideCar, Batman! Yes, TV’s 1966 Yamaha YDS-3 BatCycle is here, too. But, most of all, I loved the shiny chrome colors rarely available on current cars: metal lime green, eggplant purple, and orange ice to name a few. Polished to a high sheen, cars new and old glittered and gleamed. Three floors full.

On view are antique machines that weren’t much more than an engine on a plank of wood and four wheels, grand luxury sedans of 20s 30s, and the wonderful excesses of the 50s with magnificent color and elongated tail fins. See tiny cars without any soul built in Japan and copied by Americans.

The history of the auto is unveiled bearing witness to a technologically changed world at a price almost anyone can afford, thanks to Henry Ford’s everyman car. Most clearly present at the museum is America’s love affair with being on the road in a car of choice.



Noah Purifoy Exhibit at LACMA

Jazzy and fun as well as thought provoking, Noah Purifoy’s junk assemblages at LACMA in LA give new meaning to recycled art and design.


The Last Supper(1988) above

Purifoy (1917-2004), an African-American artist born in Alabama, is best known for his outdoor sculptural installations in Joshua Tree, California, using found objects such as bicycles, beer barrels, and bowling balls among other throwaways. His fabulous, fantastical junkyard is in the Mohave Desert, but you can see some of his re-purposed creations from there as well as smaller pieces in LA at LACMA now until January 3, 2016.

Taking a page from Marcel Duchamp, Purifoy’s Dada influenced assemblages convey an urban sensibility and social perspective. His 66 Signs of Neon was an idea born from the Watts race riots of 1965 using burnt debris from the streets. His Strange Fruit references Billy Holliday’s song about lynching and social injustice. Perhaps in light of the recent racial conflicts with the police, these constructions have even more resonance today. But simply making art seems to have been as important as being a social activist. Like the jazz he embraced, his works flow with humor and commentary with abstract elements that form a whole, as evidenced in Rags and Old Iron I (After Nina Simone).

When his creations are meant to convey a social message, there’s movement and thought behind each work. From a distance Purifoy’s sense of color and design is exquisite; then upon close inspection there’s humor in his creative use of found objects. To see the clever make up of each assemblage is to appreciate old junk anew—as part of the human experience.


#art #Visit LA #Found objects

Walking in the Rain in LA and Other Exhibits at LACMA

Walking in the Rain in LA and other exhibits at LACMA

Sold out for several weeks forward, the Rain Room—an art/technology installation at LACMA—is the hottest
ticket in LA. I scored two tickets for a timed entry Monday afternoon last
minute by using a special museum card I have. The card also gave me a discount
so I paid only $15 per ticket. Normal
entry is the astronomical price of $25/head. Visitors, this is a rip-off.

Never mind the irony of using 528 gallons of water
(recycled, of course) during the California draught, the exhibit is meant to
have you contemplate the affect of technology on mankind. One might ask, “Is it

The idea is to walk through a downpour
that stops as you take baby steps—VERY slowly as the guards constantly remind
you—through the Rain Room. Eh voila, mirabile-dictu, the rain stops pouring
directly on you though it continues to rain all around you. Anyone who has ever
walked with an umbrella has pretty much experienced the same thing. The Rain
Room Sensors actually detect your presence and stop the rain.

Warning: The sensors detect light-colored
clothes better than dark. Warning #2: Occasionally, the technology
fails–surprise!–i.e., the rain pours down on you,  doesn’t stop, and has to be reset. This
happened to us and we waited about 15 minutes for the reset so we could walk
five minutes through the Rain Room. Sorry to bum out anyone who thought it
ingenious or disappoint anyone planning to go.

My take: Save your money and time and
go to the exhibit at LACMA called Noah
Purifoy Junk Dada
. This one is excellent and fun.  There’s also an extensive Frank Gehry exhibit
with his workroom models for major projects around the world. More on both of
these another day

#visit LA #art