LACMA 40th Anniversary Celebration

Arts and Culture

By Gwen Ridoloso

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened its doors to a late night party to kick off its 40th year anniversary. The museum stayed open late to throw a free party that had lines of people waiting to the corner of the block. The plaza courtyard was filled with party people taking in the live music performances on the main stage by DJ Internationalist, Cava, and N’dambi. The scene was enlivened with film projections against the Ahmanson Building called “Museum Traffic.” Attendees found themselves walking into a sensory overload of fun. There was also live painting done by muralist Eder called “Chalk in Mural.” Along with the entertainment there was plenty of food and drinks to fill any party cravings (a bar and taco stand, gourmet grilled hot dogs catered by Descanso) and plenty of tables and chairs as well as couches to lounge on. It was a night to see and be seen.

As for the art, in honor of LACMA at 40: Gifts in Honor of the Museum’s “Anniversary-Miro to Warhol: Gifts from Robert H. Halff” was on view in the Modern and Contemporary Building. A longtime supporter and trustee of LACMA, Robert Halff, after his death, donated this amazing collection of 53 paintings, sculpture and works on paper by 41 artists. Almost every well known modern artist is represented, Richard Serra, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenberg, Robert Grober, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis, Lee Bontecou, Frank Stella, Joan Miro, Andy Warhol and so on. Some of the highlights on view in this exhibition are Warhol’s lone “Campbell’s Soup Can” and Lichtenstein’s “Cold Shoulder.” This is an exhibition not to be missed.

Right next to this exhibition is “Contemporary Projects 10: Mrzyk & Moriceau and Felicien Rops-You Only Live 25 Times.” This site-specific wall drawing installation was created by artists Petra Mrzyk and Jean Francois Morceau, who were inspired by Belgian Symbolist artist Lucien Rops and a selection of twenty five prints of his work. This will be on display until June 4. In the gallery next to Halff’s collection also making its debut, “The Prints of Ed Ruscha: A Selection from the Gift of Jane and Marc Nathanson.” It is also an outstanding collection of 150 prints from 1960 to 2004 done by pop artist Ed Ruscha. A highlight from this collection is Ruscha’s 1969 painting, “Mocha Standard,” which is one of his famed series of the Standard gas station, painted in tones of chocolate brown. Also worth seeing are his floating words compositions and lithographs. The galleries were alive with the sound of music being played by DJ Media4 and T-Bird echoing out from the Gallery Lounge as you walked through enjoying all the modern art works. These two collections will be on view until April 16.

LACMA’s Hammer Building was open for viewing exhibiting Italian architect-designer Ettore Sottsass’s contribution of modern furniture, product designs, ceramics, glass, silverwork, jewelry and architecture. Sottsass is known as a post modernist artist and one of the founding members of the Memphis Group formed in 1981. The exhibit consisted of recently graduated design students whose main aim was to revive Radical Design. This exhibition displays some unusual objects and functional designs that are lively and colorful that appear to reference the 1980’s New Wave modern fashion outlook. From the sounds heard and expressions seen around the room (from giggles, laughs, questioning looks to double takes) Sottsass has a playful sense of humor that shows through his work. Ettore Sottsass’s collection will be on display at the museum until June 11.

The museum party continued with film screenings in the Bing Theater of “Art School Confidential” and then the Best Film Oscar Award winning “Crash.” In the outdoor area were musical performances and a book signing with photographer Larry Brownstein signing his book, “Los Angeles: Where Anything is Possible” and “The Midnight Mission: From Despair to Recovery” and Gris Grimsley signing his book, “Wicked Nursery Rhymes.” Rounding out the night was more music played in the Pentimento Restaurant Lounge by DJ Suckapunch and Dub Asher. It was a night not to be missed by the generosity of the Los Angeles Museum of Art. Continuing the celebration of the 40th anniversary, the museum offered free admission all weekend.

The LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. For more info go to

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