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Culture: High & Low With Carolina A. Miranda

Essential Arts & Culture: A censored mural returns, PST: LA/LA is humming, learning from Las Vegas

Another set of beguiling Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibitions. How the Las Vegas killings attacked the idea of audience. And David Geffen’s big gift to LACMA. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, with the week’s blazing culture stories:

A mural gets its day

In 1981, Los Angeles painter Barbara Carrasco created a 43-panel portable mural for downtown Los Angeles, but the piece, titled “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective,” was censored for the difficult historical topics it broached. Now, however, it’s on view at Union Station as part of the PST: LA/LA exhibition “¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals Under Siege.” Carrasco couldn’t be more pleased: “It’s about preserving our history, our real history,” she tells the Times’ Deborah Vankin. Los Angeles Times

The Hammer’s startling ‘Radical Women’

It features 120 artists from the U.S. and 14 Latin American countries. Times art critic Christopher Knight says it’s “an exciting rush of work by scores of artists almost entirely unknown outside their home countries.” The Hammer Museum’s PST: LA/LA show “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” is a “sweeping overview” of work by avant-garde women artists who were in some way employing the body as subject and canvas. And, Knight writes, it is “a fascinating cross-section of a tumultuous time and expansive place.” Los Angeles Times

A Brazilian artist gets her due

And because you can’t have too much PST: LA/LA, I have a profile of Anna Maria Maiolino, who currently has her first U.S. retrospective on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The artist, whose work frequently explores issues of repression and yearning, talks about what it means to be an artist and a woman. “Women [in Brazil] have always been prohibited from speaking in the first person. A woman is never the universal. When I put the word ‘eu’ [or ‘I’ on a piece] … it was a determination.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: Critic Jason Farago’s says Maiolino’s work provides “lasting kinds of nourishment.” New York Times

An attack on art is an attack on democracy

After the massacre in Las Vegas, Times theater critic Charles McNulty looks at what it means to have a gunman open fire on an audience at a concert. “What some might dismiss as mere recreation is actually what builds a common reality,” he writes. “Art — high, low and smack in the middle — extends our social identities.” And it’s an attack on the 1st Amendment, which guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Los Angeles Times

Geffen’s generous gift

Entertainment mogul David Geffen has injected rocket fuel into the rebuilding plans for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with a donation of $150 million — a donation that makes history as the largest gift on record toward the construction of an American museum. Los Angeles Times

Now the other lingering question, critic William Poundstone says, is where Geffen’s stellar Modern art collection might end up. The founder of DreamWorks SKG has also given mad money to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Los Angeles County Museum on Fire

Ai Weiwei, film director

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is now getting his due as a documentary director. “Human Flow,” which lands at the Laemmle Royal in L.A. on Oct. 20, is the result of the artist’s visits to more than 40 refugee camps in 23 countries and it captures the struggles of those fleeing violence and war. “I want people to be emotionally involved,” Ai tells Deborah Vankin. “We have a responsibility to act.” Los Angeles Times

A daring Hamlet

Charles McNulty recently popped up to San Francisco to catch John Douglas Thompson take on the difficult role of Hamlet at the American Conservatory Theater. Writes McNulty: “Thompson shatteringly portrays the melancholy Dane in a boyishly affectionate performance that heightens the plight of a character forced by treacherous circumstances to relinquish his youthful ideals.” Los Angeles Times

Plus, McNulty reports on the Deaf West/Pasadena Playhouse production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” — an oft-produced play whose innovations are highlighted by this democratic, multicultural production. Los Angeles Times

The ‘L.A. Phil Effect’

As Deborah Borda, the former head of the Los Angeles Philharmonic lands in New York to take over that city’s philharmonic, Times classical music critic Mark Swed charts the “L.A. Phil Effect” on institutions around the country. He writes: “No one should be surprised that L.A. and the L.A. Phil — the most important orchestra in America (so says even the New York Times), the most prosperous (so say the annual reports) and the most ambitiously imaginative (so says program after program) — have begun exerting unprecedented influence around the country.” Los Angeles Times

Speaking of the L.A. Phil, the orchestra has dedicated its first two weeks to exploring music from the final year of Mozart’s life. But, Swed reports, “there was no premonition of death in the often sunny music of the opening program.” Los Angeles Times

Swed also took in a performance of Faustin Linyekula’s “In Search of Dinozord,” the hybrid dance-performance that kicked off the season at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles. It was, he writes, a “breathtaking work of political art.” Los Angeles Times

A Beethoven man

Jonathan Biss, the Philadelphia-based concert pianist known for his devotion to Beethoven — he’s made a nine-disc recording of the composer’s piano sonatas and written a book about him — is playing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday. “I feel there’s no big human question that Beethoven isn’t interested in and doesn’t address in a powerful way,” he tells Times contributor Barbara Isenberg. Los Angeles Times

Plus, Times contributing reviewer Richard S. Ginnell landed at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s season opener, which was led by Spanish conductor Jaime Martín — and which featured an appearance by violinist Joshua Bell. Los Angeles Times

In other news …

— British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, author of “The Remains of the Day,” has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Los Angeles Times

— There’s an interesting critique (from 2006) of Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” by Marco Roth: “Each novel stages the slow horror of cognitive restraint, a traumatic refusal to recognize the awful truth until the last possible moment.” N+1

Eve Babitz’s essays are to be adapted for television. LAist

— The border wall prototypes are under construction. The Architects’ Newspaper

— A conversation between “I Love Dick” novelist Chris Krauss and writer and editor Bruce Hainley scheduled to take place at a gallery space in Boyle Heights was canceled after pressure from anti-gentrification activists. LA Weekly

— Speaking of which, KCRW and WNYC have teamed up for a podcast about gentrification called “There Goes The Neighborhood.” This is really good. KCRW

Lin-Manuel Miranda is not having President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. New York Times

— New York’s Lincoln Center has scrapped plans for a $500-million renovation of Geffen Hall. New York Times

— And Marina Abramovic has dropped her plans for a $31-million performance art center designed by Rem Koolhaas. The Art Newspaper

Abramovic, however, is selling macarons that “taste like her.” i-D

— How curator Naima Keith is energizing L.A.’s California African American Museum. DesignLA

— L.A. artist Betye Saar is being honored with three lifetime achievement awards. Congratulations, Ms. Saar! Roberts & Tilton

— Plus, the Ford Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in “Art of Change” fellowships to 25 artists, including Angelenos Gustavo Dudamel, Ava DuVernay and Luis Alfaro. ARTnews

— Artist Flora Kao has filled an L.A. gallery with rubbings of her now-demolished home in Taiwan. Artillery

— That “Fearless Girl” statue facing the charging bull on Wall Street in downtown Manhattan? The company behind it is currently settling a gender pay dispute. Oops. Bloomberg

— Making this a good time to revisit Jillian Steinhauer’s essay on the sculpture’s “fake corporate feminism.” Hyperallergic​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​— A 15-minute “Blade Runner” anime by “Cowboy Bebop” director Shinichirō Watanabe is what you need to start your weekend. Crunchy Roll (Via IndieWire)

And last but not least …

“Our open-plan office failed, so we’re moving to a towering panopticon.” McSweeney’s

carolina.miranda@latimes.com

@cmonstah

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