A girl dances in the gardens in front of Qorikancha. (Photo by C-M.)
Last week, I attended one of the better art openings I’ve been to in a long, long time. The Museo Qorikancha, the museum attached to the ancient Inca site and Dominican monastery in Cusco, held a reception for its semi-annual art contest. For the last eight years, the museum has been putting together a collection of contemporary art and supporting local and regional artists through a regular exhibition program and art contests. This year’s theme was ‘Memory’ and the show provided a good opportunity to take in the local scene. Things really got interesting halfway through the opening reception when the building lost power. In fact, the lights never came back on. Not that it mattered to anyone at the opening. Folks promptly lit up their cigarettes and used their cell phone lights to admire the art. Then the Dominican monks laid out a table of wine, which somehow everyone was able to find in the pitch dark.
My Peruvian cake obsession continues. The colors. The textures. The fruity ornamentation. Part I here.
New decorating idea: classical-statuary-with-sunglasses candles inside glass jars. Would go smashing in an MTV Crib or Monterrey narco-palace. (Spotted at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.)
In a place as impossibly horizontal as L.A., it’s always nice to see the city’s highly centralized arts institutions leave their sinecures for some guerrilla activities at the fringes. For the first ever Venice Beach Biennial, the folks behind the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial got a crew of more than 50 fine artists to go and set up some stalls amid the outdoor circus that is the Venice Beach boardwalk. I decided to forgo the map that was available at some stalls and just troll the boardwalk in a state of general cluelessness. This way, I could see how good I was at picking out the artsy fartsies from the run-of-the-mill weirdos.
I didn’t get to see everything, unfortunately. (I had a very important fish taco appointment with friends.) But what I did see convinced me that this is something that the city’s institutions should be doing more of: inserting art into the world, in ways that are confusing and disorienting. Most significantly, however, the whole exercise offered the very real convenience of conceptual art and patchouli in a single location — always a winner in my book.
Some days in Orange County you’re cruising along to Wal-Mart, minding your own business, when you stumble right into a monumental piece of sculptural spectacularness. I found these austere-yet-noble representations of the family on the corner of Portola and Alton in Lake Forest, the sprawling Southern California community that is otherwise known as the home of megachurch pastor Rick Warren. I know it’s totally cliché to call anything in O.C. fascist. (I worked at Fascist Island one Christmas.) But this little Gesamtkunstwerk has fatherland written all over it: Arno Breker meets Josef Thorak, but with more modest clothing.
All I gotta say is: worth the trip. Especially if paired with a visit to the In-N-Out Burger nearby.