A Week in L.A. - Inspiration for future performances
I attended The Arts in Society Conference from August 10 to 12, 2016, on the campus of UCLA (the University of California at Los Angeles). The theme of this year’s Conference was The Practice of Art in the Age of the Anthropocene, in four sub-themes:
- Arts Education
- Arts theory and History
- New Media, Technology and the Arts
- Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts
As usual for me, this annual conference was full of concepts and ideas. Its purpose remains “…to create an intellectual platform for the arts and arts practices, and to create an interdisciplinary conversation on the role of the arts in society. It is intended as a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation of ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world – on stage, in studios and theaters, in classrooms, in museums and galleries, on the streets and in communities.”
In addition to taking in the excellent plenary sessions, and as many of the individual session papers as possible, I also was inspired by visiting local galleries. On the evening of our first day we had a tour of “Made in L.A. 2016” at the Hammer Museum, located just south of the UCLA campus. It was a biennial exhibition highlighting the practices of selected artists working in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. It was a fascinating exhibition, and a great fit with the Arts in Society Conference.
Following the Conference, I visited two new contemporary art museums:
- The Broad, to see “Imitation of Life”, a fascinating 40-year survey showcasing 120 works of the Broad’s large collection by the renowned artist, Cindy Sherman. For all those years she has starred in all her artwork – being both photographer and model. Her work is very illuminating to me in my current artwork relating to identities.
At The Broad I also experienced Yayoi Kalama’s installation, Infinity Mirrored Room, an amazing room of mirrors and a multitude of lights, which reflect, accumulate, and exponentially expand the mirror-lined chamber.
- I spent the next day at The Getty Centre, which occupies a unique, hilly site jutting southward from the Santa Monica Mountains in west L.A. A beautiful collection of art is displayed in its buildings and gardens with incredible views of Los Angeles. Its architecture is truly special and inviting!
This L.A. trip was rewarding and informative, with people and art – inspiration to me for future performances!