Friday, January 8, 2010

Irving Penn's Small Trades at Getty Center

File this in the better late than never category: checked out photographer Irving Penn's "Small Trades" exhibition of 252 platinum and rich palladium prints at the Getty this week which closes Sunday 1/10. Penn worked with these negatives over 50 years creating intimate but revealing studio portraits of tradespeople in London, New York and Paris. These psychological portraits, set against a neutral background, are revealing decades later and emblematic of Penn's fascination with "dissolving cultures"and worlds that would disappear. Some of these trades are long lost: no need for coal or ice men these days or even chamois sellers.

The Getty Center is open until 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Parking is free after 5 p.m. on Saturday as well, otherwise it's now $15. Admission is free.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

L.A. Arts Month

Howdy 2010! Postings were light at the end of the year: lots of conflicts such as paid work, family (Martin returned from six months in India!), the holidays, a biennial bout with some kind of flu and a new blogging gig for AOL TripVine: LA Suite Life where I cover all that's new, different and hopefully, interesting about SoCal hotels.

In anticipation of L.A. Arts Month (more at, I checked out the second half of MOCA's Collection: MOCA's First Thirty Years their comprehensive historical survey of the past 70 years of contemporary art at the Geffen Contemporary (with an emphasis on NY and Calif. artists). Felt like a trip to my own office as many of the artists showcased are among my faves and I look at their work everyday. Ok MOCA has the originals but it was a pleasure to see them given the grand museum treatment: Edward Ruscha, Barbara Kruger and Hiroshi Sugimoto's black-and-white photos of luminescent cinema screens. A number of John Baldessaris and Catherine Opie's still searing self-portrait are here as well. Looking forward to seeing the first half of the show at MOCA Grand Ave. soon.