In the news recently, the Klimt painting, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, sold for 135 million dollars in a private sale. You can read all about it here.
This painting along with four other Klimts are currently on display at LACMA until June 30th. Wanting to see the Klimts along with the Hockney portrait exhibit, I wandered over to Museum Mile on Friday and parked across the street from the LaBrea Tar Pit. Yes, priceless masterpieces and major works of art sit right next a tar pit. I love LA.
There was a line out the door to see the Klimt paintings. It was like Disneyland where you wait on one line, then move inside and wait on another line while shuffling through a maze made of rope. This ride only can take a few people at a time.
ĎAll these people are probably here because of the sale.' The art lovers mumbled.
Duh. How many times have you been in the same room as an object worth $135,000,000? Yes, yes, I know it's not about the money or the history. Art is immortal, iconic, blah, blah, blah.
At the end of a wood paneled corridor sat a gallery with a high ceiling and the five Klimts. In the center of the far wall sat Adele Bloch-Bauer I. It was larger than I thought it would be and sat high up on the wall. A crowd was gathered in front of it.
I looked at the two Klimts on the left. They were nice. They had bright colors, but they seemed muted next to the room's center piece. I inched closer and closer and just looked. I looked, and I looked. It was so beautiful. All that gold and the sensual wave line down the center that was the edge of her dress made the painting intriguing. I got caught up in the rhythm of it. I could not look away.
It wasn't just me. There was a community around the painting, and we all just stood there looking at it, taking our time, taking it all in. Even little kids looked up and exclaimed it was pretty. The light made the gold shimmer and glow.
When I decided it was time to go, I easily exited out of the gallery. I think the guards were happy to see people exit. The next gallery after Klimt contained paintings from 1930s America. It was definitely the Yang to the decadence and gold. Their brown and black tones grounded me and brought me back to the human.
The Hockney portraits were interesting. They ranged in size from little sketches to huge canvases. He was very good at capturing character in all the details like a writer would. Even though many of the subjects were friends and family, he seemed more interested in capturing the essence of the person instead of simply flattering the subject and himself. He also liked hands. In some cases, the hands in his pictures looked oversized.
There were many pictures of Hockney's mother. Apparently, she was his favorite subject. In the pictures, she seems like a nice person. You can almost hear her voice telling us to eat all our peas.
Before I left LACMA, I sipped overpriced sparkling lemonade and walked around the tar pit. A slight hint of asphalt hung in the air. Statues of extinct animals rose out of the tar as families played on the green grass just beyond it.
Why do we have our great artistic triumphs right next to a pit with relics of extinction? Is it a grim omen or a comedic reminder?