Reader feedback on ‘Hillary’ doc, Plácido’s ‘hugs’ and LACMA, LACMA, LACMA
Regarding Meredith Blake’s article “Her Long and Winding Road” [March 1] about the documentary “Hillary” on Hulu: I am still mourning the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. I still wonder how such a smart and gracious woman was defeated by a boorish blowhard.
Many of us knew Donald Trump would be a disastrous president, but not enough of us cared.
As a mother of five daughters and a strong supporter of the woman’s movement, I nevertheless take issue with [Mary] McNamara’s column [“That’s One Sorry Tune, Plácido,” Feb. 28].
Musicians, male and female, can be openly affectionate. Plácido’s charisma is an expression of his passion for music and his outgoing and warm personality. Hugs and touching (inappropriate activity, as McNamara says) are part of this man’s deep emotional life. His “sorry tune” comes from his heart, and is honest and pure. Mary McNamara may be the one who is off key.
San Juan Capistrano
When is a review not a review?
Regarding “A Secret Mamet Debut” [Feb. 26]: Theater critic Charles McNulty writes, “I’m going to respect the tacit wishes of Mamet and not review the play as I would if it had had an official press opening.”
He notes that a friend invited him to view, not review. But the article on Mamet’s “Christopher Boy’s Communion,” which just ended its two-week trial run at the Odyssey Theatre, reads like a review.
McNulty offers what he refers to as “feedback.” He describes the play’s plot, reveals the actors (Rebecca Pidgeon and William H. Macy, among others) and the complexities of their roles — while also mentioning the $50 ticket price being charged in Los Angeles prior to a run in New York.
What’s the line to be drawn between this and a theater review?
LACMA saga continues
Regarding art critic Christopher Knight’s “LACMA Loses Major Donor” [Feb. 26]: LACMA’s director Michael Govan is completely tone deaf regarding any constructive criticism of this vanity project.
The building (replacing four other buildings) is inadequate to house LACMA’s encyclopedic collection, but that hasn’t deterred Govan. Maybe the Ahmanson Foundation pulling its support (which has taken decades to cultivate) is what it will take to put a halt to this fiasco.
Architects tend not to criticize other architects’ work (maybe professional courtesy or fear of payback), but Christopher Knight’s article compels me to speak out against the ill-advised design for LACMA.
Quite aside from the serious concerns he and others have raised about the budget, size and limited collection display, this monotonous monolith will be an architectural lemon both inside and out.
Hovering over Wilshire Boulevard and Hancock Park, it will cast permanent shade over an increasingly lively section of the street and the park, creating a dark and oppressive space akin to the underside of a major freeway. The hermetically sealed interiors will offer no relief for the art-weary eyes and feet in the form of courtyards, balconies or other outdoor spaces that could take advantage of our benign climate and the wonderful park next door. The Getty Museum experience proves the value of such outdoor interludes.
These flaws are all due to the original misconception that the museum must be all on one level in order to avoid some dread hierarchy of display. I know of no major encyclopedic museum in the world that is on one level, and plenty of wonderful two- and three-story institutions where no one’s experience or appreciation is harmed by changing a level or two. Quite the contrary, think of the grand stairs of the Met, the Louvre, Pompidou’s escalators and others. The list is long.
Please, County Supervisors and LACMA Board, send this one back to the drawing board before the wrecking ball starts swinging.
Bravo to the Ahmanson Foundation for cutting off funds to LACMA to be used to purchase art that will remain in storage for several years. Having great art in storage, is like giving a child a birthday present, but saying it can only be played with every few years.
How hideous. It looks like a Motel 6.
Readers of art critic Christopher Knight’s piece that appeared in print on Ash Wednesday must have been startled at how he describes the preeminent Rembrandt work in the LACMA collection. The Raising of Lazarus, according to Knight, is a scene “in which a corpse comes back to life.” There’s a little more to it than that, as can be seen in the background of the painting, where Jesus Christ is depicted reviving Lazarus from death, in what was the final miracle he performed before his own imminent Passion and resurrection. When the paper characterizes a scene from the Holy Gospel that perfunctory way, it is what Catholic readers might call a sin of omission.
New York City
Kudos to the Ahmanson Foundation for exposing the glaring problem with the new LACMA intentions and building. I have been a member of LACMA since it was housed in the Natural History Museum building and have enjoyed the collections ever since. I viewed with alarm the first renderings of the new building and shared concerns that a black roofed building would have enormous air conditioning costs.
What does a Swiss architect know about L.A. weather?
Meg Quinn Coulter
The Ahmanson Foundation’s withdrawal of its patronage is only the tip of the iceberg. The 67% reduction of gallery space in the planned “Titanic” of a new building will sink the museum’s acquisition hopes across the board.
This building plan must be stopped and Michael Govan should go. It’s not too late yet, but it will be too late very soon.
It’s been clear for years that LACMA’s proposed redesign does not support its fundamental mission, and, in fact, severely undercuts it.
What keeps LACMA’s powers that be from rethinking their decision? Is it inertia, group-think, bloody-stupid leadership or sheer arrogant stubbornness not to listen to people trying to warn them that they’re headed over a cliff?
Once their redo is embodied in tons of concrete and steel, it’ll remain a monument to squandered opportunity and blithely boneheaded ineptitude for a very long time.
All of Los Angeles should yell a huge and collective: “Not on our watch.”
Who is Michael Govan to not just snub but also bite the hand that has fed LACMA for longer than he has been alive?
What sort of board of directors give carte blanche to someone to cut the artery of one of the most important cultural institutions in Los Angeles for the sake of building a structure that will just serve to feed an ego.
The buildings at LACMA are old, yes, outdated, yes and in need of repair, yes. However, there are many more older more decrepit houses of public art on this planet that manage to remake themselves into current and viable destinations for the art viewing public to partake of their patrimony.
Buckingham Palace and Versailles are way older than these midcentury structures and they are still functioning as the cultural treasures that belong to the public.
Kene J. Rosa
I write this letter with a heavy heart. As a resident of this city for seven decades and being involved in the arts as a gallery owner, collector and a museum curator of over 40 exhibitions all over the country, it is depressing to see the decline of LACMA.
The museum lost important donations in the past due to mismanagement (the Edward G. Robinson collection, part of the Billy Wilder collection and others).
Under the leadership of Govan, the museum has a director who has no respect for the past, has an abysmal knowledge of the history of art and is engaged in trying to satisfy his ego with this senseless design.
Instead of increasing exhibition space, we are getting a building with lots of glass walls upon which you cannot hang paintings. The bridge over a busy street does not make any sense in earthquake-prone Southern California. We have a bottomless money pit with no end in its cost.
Now, we have a great benefactor, the Ahmanson Foundation, withdrawing its support from the museum. All these problems can be solved by removing Govan and his architect.
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