South by South Lawn: LACMA’s Michael Govan to talk with James Turrell and David Adjaye at White House festival
Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan will kick off South by South Lawn: A White House Festival of Ideas, Art and Action, which starts Monday morning with Govan’s breakfast conversation with light-and-space artist James Turrell and architect David Adjaye.
The event is a White House riff on the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, where President Obama appeared this year in a keynote conversation.
Govan’s talk with Turrell and Adjaye, architect of the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, will take place at the nearby Newseum.
“I’m excited the arts are a lead in the White House’s efforts to get us all to think big,” Govan said by email. “James Turrell and David Adjaye are two big thinkers who have worked persistently to pursue their art and make meaningful contributions to our culture.”
According to the SXSL website, the three will discuss “the challenges and rewards of taking on the ‘hard things’ through their groundbreaking projects.” (Obama has a plaque on his desk that reads, “Hard things are hard.”)
Govan was a natural fit to moderate the panel given his friendship and work with both participants, a LACMA representative said. Govan has championed Turrell’s work, particularly his landmark Roden Crater, a large-scale artwork made within a volcanic cinder cone in northern Arizona. He has also helped to shine a spotlight on Adjaye, whose projects include Rivington Place in London and the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.
Other events on Monday include the president in conversation with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe before the U.S. premiere of DiCaprio’s new climate documentary film, “Before the Flood.” Pulitzer Prize-winning Times’ food critic Jonathan Gold will moderate a panel on the South Lawn called “L.A., a Case Study in Innovation,” which examines how “we foster innovation and collaboration in cities and local communities.” Musical performers include the Lumineers, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and DJ Beverly Bond. Interactive exhibits by photographer-painter Chuck Close and performance painter David Garibaldi will be on display.
The events will be live streamed at Facebook.com/WhiteHouse.
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