Saturday, December 23, 2017

DTLA With My Granddaughter and Wife Part 2: Who Killed Liberty, Maiolino, And Roses

[Part 1 is here.]

We left off in the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.  As we moved along we came across this image of the statue of liberty by Daniel Joseph Martinez.  When I found the title - Who Killed Liberty, Can You Hear That, It's the Sound of Inevitability, The Sound of Your Death - it made sense.  But I wondered about more politically conservative people.  How might they react to this?  Even though they rail against government, how their religious rights are violated by things like gay marriage, how they are economically less well off, etc., would they appreciate this symbol of all those things?  Or would they see it as a desecration of a traditional monument to freedom?  Or have they soured on the Statue of Liberty because it represents a pro-immigration stance?
click on image to enlarge and focus

Then we walked a little further and saw this work extended into the next room.    This  second picture was taken by Z, my four year old partner in crime.  She has had no trouble picking up how to turn on the camera, how to press part way to focus, take the picture, then  open the window and press the view button, then move from picture to picture.  And her composition isn't bad either, though she did cut off the base of the statue.  The base is a mirror and she got in trouble with the guard for touching it.  My wife was closer to Z at the time, so she got written up, though the guard was apologetic and said there was clearly no damage and nothing would come of it.  

The main exhibit was by an artist I'd never heard of - Anna Maria Maiolino - but who had a large body of work in many different media.   There was a large room of pieces with torn paper, some of which was sewn up, or thread played a key role in the image.  Here are a couple of examples of the torn paper without thread.  (My camera had difficulty knowing what to do - I take that as a tribute to the artist who was tricking the camera's auto settings and chiding my slow progress in mastering the manual commands.  The first two attempts came out almost white.)

Here's a close up of another one with torn paper.  I think the original was much whiter, but I don't have it in front of me, so I'm not going to try to fiddle with the photo to replicate something I'm not sure of.

Here's something on the artist.

This one was called By A Thread and shows the artist in the center attached by threads to her mother and daughter.

And this one is The Hero.

But let's look at different media.

I was enjoying the shapes and positioning and textures and the imagination that created these pieces, I really wasn't of thinking about what it all meant, so I didn't take pictures of the descriptions, so I can't give these names.

Don't know what these are, but I do remember looking to see what they are made of - cement.

And finally, still Maiolino,

You can see a lot more images of her work at the MOCA website.

One of the downtown places I'd never been to, but had heard about and wanted to see was the Last Book Store.  But first, this mural we passed as we walked to the bookstore.  An exhibit on murals in LA we saw today at the Skirball says this is Eloy Torrez' "Pope of Broadway."  The sun was brightly reflecting off the wall fading out the colors, and with a four year old in tow, it's harder to run back up the block to from where the colors were better.

Then finally to The Last Bookstore.

I'm afraid I was expecting the most incredible bookstore ever.  It isn't.  Powell's in Portland is much better.  I like Elliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle better.  This one is quirkier than those two.

This building was a bank before it became a bookstore (a transformation I highly approve of.)  You can even go into the old safe to peruse books.  Maybe I just needed more time to get the feel of this place, but I as I walked through aisles and aisles of books, books weren't calling out to me to stop and pick them up.  And there are lots of signs saying, "No public restrooms."   This was more a bookstore in a gritty downtown block that seemed to be trying to figure out how to discourage the homeless.

It wasn't warm and inviting.  There were some places to sit and read, but not enough.

Z found a book she liked in the kids' section and her grandmother, of course, made sure it came home with us.  We wandered down to the Metro station - Z never stopped looking around, never complained about anything, and when I asked if she wanted to stop at the rose garden on the way home enthusiastically said yes.  So we got off at the Exposition Park station for a quick fragrance check on as many roses as we could before the next train came by.

This is a rose garden that I visited as a young child myself.  The Natural History Museum is nearby as well as the coliseum,

Wikipedia says the garden is seven acres.

"In 1986, plans to dig up the garden to build an underground parking garage led to protests in the media.[15][17] The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial opposing the plan: "There are times when the leaders of Los Angeles seem perversely intent on living up to the image that many outsiders have of them—insensitive and uncouth rabbits who would, say, dig up a garden to put in a parking lot."[18] The garden had also been threatened by an earlier proposal by the Los Angeles Raiders football team to convert the garden into a practice field for the team.[16] In order to protect the garden from such threats, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991."

I also read that the garden is closed from January 1 to March 1 for pruning, so this was likely the last chance to see these flowers this year for us.

And as I look at this last picture, I can't help but see similarities between this rose and the Disney Concert Hall that began Part 1 of these DTLA posts.


  1. I love this stuff! Thanks again for opening another window to another view of life. And with a 4-5 year old who is doing the same for you I suspect. :D

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    See you on the other side of the Wall of December 31st.

  2. I'm delighted to share with someone else who appreciates this. Yes, Z, does force me to slow down and look more. She's at the stage where she has to do everything by herself. Sometimes it takes five minutes to get the seatbelt attached. She wants to put the key in the key hole. She helped me trim a tree in the back yard and fix a leaky flapper in the toilet bowl.
    Merry Christmas to you and to all the you other readers.


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