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By Teka

Wow, what a week!  After all of the political hubbub of the last seven days, I am sure that I’m not the only one who is just now coming up for air.  It’s taken me this long to find the time and energy to share some images of the recent Nasher Museum led trip to Los Angeles, where museum director Kimerly Rorschach and curator of contemporary art Trevor Schoonmaker led a fantastic group of art lovers around town.  I was there, too, to provide some extra support and knowledge, but mostly I just had the pleasure of hanging out with what was truly a lovely group of fellow art nerds.

The trip was all art all the time. We started with a whirlwind tour of the Broad Art Foundation in Santa Monica, where associate curator Ed Schad led us through the remarkable collection.  By far, the best thing for me at the foundation was Pierre Huyghe‘s breathtaking 2004 video A Journey that Wasn’t.  All of us were sad that we didn’t have 22 minutes to sit and watch the whole thing; maybe the Nasher will show it one day (hint, hint!).  I also loved the way that Ed used the word “geeky” to describe pretty much any art work that was a conceptual maze. Mark Tansey certainly earned the epithet and there were some beautiful works of his on view, too.

Then it was off to Culver City (a section of LA that always reminds me of Chelsea in the mid 90s before it was the center of the New York art world) and wandered around the galleries.  We saw a fantastic show of work on paper by Amy Sillman at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, though my heart was stolen by the lone painting in the show, which I would buy in a heartbeat if I could.  We capped off the visit with a tour of LAXART, the sole not-for-profit space in Culver City which was founded by curator Lauri Firstenberg a few years ago.

I could go on and on – we had a chance to view two fantastic if very different private collections – that of David & Susie Gersh and Blake Byrne (a Duke alumm who is the chair of the Nasher Museum advisory board).  We meandered through the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art where the work of Louise Bourgeois and Martin Kippenberger was on view and we had the honor of having lunch with museum director, Jeremy Strick.  We explored the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), where work by artists like Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha was on display in-depth.  I loved the Vanity Fair Portraits exhibition at LACMA, not only because it was fun to look at all of the beautiful photographs of cultural icons, but also because of the remarkable number of vintage photos going back to the turn of the 20th century.  We finished up the trip at the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the Getty Center in LA; both museums were amazing, and there more than anywhere the landscape and outdoor views were in serious competition with the art.

I can’t begin to describe all that we saw, but click here to see my photos on the Nasher Flickr site instead.  And just FYI, in 2009 the Nasher will be leading art trips to Chicago and Venice (for the Biennial!), and if my experience in LA is any indication, they will be fantastic.  For more info, click here to check out Duke Travel.

Image: Chris Burden (United States, Massachusetts, Boston, born 1931), Urban Light, 2008
Sculpture, (Two-hundred and two) restored cast iron antique street lamps, Dimensions variable
The Gordon Family Foundation’s gift to “Transformation: The LACMA Campaign” (M.2007.147.1-.202)

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