Last night we got a little Tweet as we were prepping today’s posts from former local and designer Jake Kahana. He moved to Los Angeles on August 13, 2003 and, a little over ten years later, he moved away. To share his favorite moments of living in Los Angeles and to visually scrapbook his time, he created an interesting, fun interactive website called 3800 Days In Los Angeles.
You may think that your discovery of Los Angeles is something new. That your being here and it’s current trendiness is something that is newfound and now. You may think taking up walking and being a Metro advocate is new and that Downtown’s current boom is something born out of decades of cultural slumping. Is that really true? Of course not: Los Angeles is a city of busts and booms and with an unclear history locals and newbies are ready to forget, to rewrite whatever story we want to of the city.
We all are guilty of this in some capacity. These facts weren’t particularly striking until we found a twenty year old issue of Sunset that proclaimed Los Angeles as the place to be. In light of the Rodney King Riots and the Northridge Earthquake, this story came out as a sort of re-re-re-coming out of the city, to say that our flaws are behind us and that we are ready to be explored. What’s interesting is that the same things—the same places, the same parts of town, the same personalities—are exactly what Los Angeles twenty years later is championing and getting attention for, mostly by way of outsiders being flown in and the city selling itself to whoever will buy. What does this say about our city? That time has not changed: history is literally repeating itself.
What politics are attached to space in Los Angeles? That is what architect and writer Victor Jones is asking with his new book (IN)Formal L.A., a collection of writings attempting to dissect and discover what certain traits of the city mean to the city. Can a building or infrastructural feature of Los Angeles be seen as a construction reflective of specific ideologies? Yes—and there is a lot of this in Los Angeles.
The field of art is so much more than being creative. It has always had a tie to science, mathematics, and history and even more specific fields like physics and thermodynamics. We don’t think of this as viewers but, unless the piece is a performance, materials are used to create and their materiality has innate properties that age and change over time. Can a work of art remain the same decades or almost a century after it has been created? Of course—but not without rigorous tweaking.
This is the circumstance surrounding The Getty’s exhibiting of Jackson Pollock’s Mural. It is a more contemporary move for the institution and one that brings their historically leaning works into the present. Mural‘s significance is bigger than art though: it is a feat of science. The resulting show is less an art exhibition and is more an academic deconstruction of what Pollock was doing when he created. It places art viewers into the Getty’s laboratories to investigate art through various academic entry points.
If you go to certain street art and graffiti corridors in Hollywood and Downtown, you may find yourself giggling in delight at paintings that feature smiley, happy, cherub cheeked kids and a winking spray paint can. The work is undoubtedly familiar. The folks behind these pieces are girlfriend/boyfriend art team Dabs Myla, a couple from Melbourne who currently call Los Angeles home. Their work has an extreme positivity to it and a lot of humor. It’s easy to love.