L.A. Now

Essential Arts and Culture: Big news for the L.A. Phil and LACMA


'm Kelly Scott, the Arts and Culture editor of the Los Angeles Times, and here are some of the stories we covered this week.

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Three more years

The L.A. Phil locked up its star music director Gustavo Dudamel for another three years, extending his tenure to 2022. The announcement came from Japan, where the Phil is finishing off its tour of Asia. Several strands of speculation followed: One, feelers had been extended from the New York Philharmonic, whose podium will be empty in 2017. Two, feelers had been extended from the Berlin Philharmonic, which just said goodbye to Simon Rattle. But Dudamel is staying in Los Angeles to remain close to his son through his recently disclosed divorce. Dudamel didn't comment beyond a prepared statement. How did the music world take the news? My favorite response came from a member of the L.A. Phil board, which knows they've got a good thing going: “He's like the unicorn among conductors working in the field today,” David Gindler said.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Same color, less curvy

A new rendering of the Wilshire Boulevard building that architect Peter Zumthor is designing for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art emerged this week. As architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne noted, it still spans Wilshire, but there are substantial changes. The galleries have been shifted. There are only two entrances, at the north and south side of the building. And it’s not quite as curvy. “Peter hasn’t given up the curve,” said LACMA director Michael Govan. “But he’s really, really reined it in.”

(Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner)

Car culture

In other LACMA news, the museum announced a 10-year sponsorship deal with Hyundai Motor Co. There was no dollar figure disclosed -- but it’s enough for to buy LACMA an Irwin and a Turrell,  finance three future exhibitions of Korean art and contribute to the museum's Art + Technology lab.

How many ways are there to hang a painting?

To hear arts reporter Jessica Gelt tell it, the process of hanging visiting masterpieces in an art museum isn’t all that different from how you do it at home.  There are measuring tapes. Onlookers cock their heads one side, thinking it over. There are requests to move it just a little bit to the right. Gelt went behind the scenes when the Norton Simon Museum decided how to hang three visiting paintings from Paris’ Musee d’Orsay: a Manet, a Cezanne and James Whistler's portrait of his mother. Photographer Marcus Yam captured the process.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Not afraid to shake things up

Carey Perloff wasn’t surprised that she didn’t see any of the artistic directors of L.A.’s major nonprofit theaters in the audience of a recent L.A. reading of her new book “Creative Chaos: A Life in the Theater.” Perloff, artistic director of American Contemporary Theatre in San Francisco, comes out swinging in the book, blaming many nonprofits for sliding into commercialism. Theater critic Charles McNulty cheers her incisive analysis of the state of theater in her book, and in a subsequent interview.

The 99-seat theater debate

Don't miss McNulty's Twitter commentary on the raging debate -- on social media and on the streets -- within the L.A. theater world on the fate of the 99-seat theater plan.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In short

A rave for "Newsies" at the Pantages ... Saluting Pierre Boulez on his 90th birthday ... A new exhibition at LACE is anything but wet.

What we’re reading

This video story on the Wall Street Journal online about the elevator scenes in “Mad Men," which starts its final season April 5, made me remember this great piece by Christopher Hawthorne about the lack of assurances that any space is private anymore -- even elevators.

The New York Phil played the premiere of a fascinating new piece by John Adams -- "Scheherazade.2" The ovation was tremendous, wrote Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times.

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