Newsletter: Essential Arts & Culture: The new Marciano museum, the Center Theatre Group at 50, LACMA’s museum-rethink

A detail from Jim Shaw’s installation at the Marciano Art Foundation shows Barbara Bush going up in flames as occultist Aleister Crowley looks on.
(Glenn Koening / Los Angeles Times)

New museums! Big retirements! Schubert and Beethoven and some fellas from Jersey. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, with the week’s tastiest culture stories:

L.A.’s newest museum

The Marciano Art Foundation, L.A.'s newest art museum, rises in an old Masonic temple, originally designed by midcentury great Millard Sheets and rehabbed by L.A.'s Kulapat Yantrasast.
(Yoshiro Makino / wHY and Marciano Art Foundation)

This week marked the splashy opening of the Marciano Art Foundation. The debut exhibition kicks off with an installation by L.A. artist Jim Shaw, as well as a show of works belonging to Guess jeans moguls Paul and Maurice Marciano. Times art critic Christopher Knight was intrigued by the Shaw installation — “a surreal fun house” — but was less keen on the permanent collection, which, he says, “would benefit from some deeply informed professional guidance.” Los Angeles Times

Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a gander at the architectural renovation of the old Scottish Rite Temple by Kulapat Yantrasast. Hawthorne says he would have preferred that the original building’s peculiarities had been treated “not as something to keep in check but instead to grapple with, spotlight or even exaggerate.” Los Angeles Times


The Times’ Deborah Vankin, in the meantime, was at the Marciano’s glammy opening party. Los Angeles Times

Rethinking the art of showing art

LACMA director Michael Govan wants to change the way museum permanent collections are displayed in the proposed Peter Zumthor-designed building.
(Atelier Peter Zumthor)

Speaking of museums, Knight has a highly intriguing scoop on what the new Peter Zumthor-designed Los Angeles County Museum of Art will look like — not at the level of design, but curatorially. “In its new home, expect LACMA’s permanent collection to break all the rules,” Knight reports. “The permanent collection won’t exactly be permanent. LACMA instead plans to install the collection as a continuing series of temporary exhibitions — cross-cultural and interdisciplinary. An impermanent permanent collection, the scheme is unprecedented.” Los Angeles Times

Related: A roundup of the most recent additions to the museum’s permanent collection. Los Angeles Times

Center Theatre Group turns 50

The curtain call during Center Theatre Group's 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Ahmanson Theatre.
(Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

The Center Theatre Group is now half a century old. And to mark the occasion, a star-studded celebration was held featuring excerpts of important past works and culminating with what Times theater critic Charles McNulty describes as “an earthquake rendition by Jennifer Hudson of ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ from the musical ‘Hairspray.’” He adds: “All credit to Michael Ritchie, CTG’s reigning artistic director, for using this anniversary occasion to shore up first principles.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: The Times’ Jessica Gelt went behind the scenes with Matthew Broderick, Edward James Olmos, Louis Gossett Jr. and many others as they went on and off stage. Los Angeles Times

Keeping important art shops alive

Gary Wolin is the owner of the McManus & Morgan art supply company, whose clients have included Ansel Adams, Ed Ruscha and others.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Earlier this month, Christopher Hawthorne wrote about the Berggruen Institute’s plans to move to a 1924 building in MacArthur Park. That move, he now reports, could displace McManus & Morgan, the venerable art supply company, and Aardvark Letterpress. But it ain’t over yet. Berggruen, writes Hawthorne, may be willing to go along with a solution that allows these important institutions to stay. Los Angeles Times

Hawthorne also paid a visit at SCI-Arc, where an exhibition organized by architectural historian Sylvia Lavin busts the myth of the typically male, hero architect. Los Angeles Times

A lifetime at CalArts

CalArts president Steven Lavine addresses students, staff and faculty after the ’94 Northridge earthquake, which devastated the campus.
(CalArts Archive)

After 29 years as president of the California Institute of the Arts, Steven Lavine is retiring. He sat down with me for an oral history about the school’s near bankruptcy and the devastation of the Northridge earthquake. “On New Year’s Eve, going into ’94, my wife and I toasted one another,” he told me. “CalArts was artistically, educationally and economically safe. And then, Northridge.” Los Angeles Times

As part of the story, Lavine shared an anecdote about the time a naked guy with a snake showed up at graduation. An enterprising soul at CalArts has turned up photographic evidence! Los Angeles Times

A play at Hollyhock

Guerin Piercy in Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark Hollyhock House for the play “Fefu and Her Friends.”
(Daniel Szandtner)

The Circle X Theatre Company and JUST Toys have taken over Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House for a performance of “Fefu and Her Friends,” by the Cuban American playwright María Irene Fornés — a work that explores the physical and emotional dangers experienced by women. It’s a challenging play, writes reviewer Margaret Gray, though she left Hollyhock “feeling more connected to Fornés, Los Angeles history and even womankind.” Los Angeles Times

Jersey boys

Mark Ballas front and center with, from left, Cory Jeacoma, Matthew Dailey and Keith Hines in the national tour of "Jersey Boys."
(Jim Carmody)

“Jersey Boys” is back at the Ahmanson. And even though the show, about the rise and fall and rise of the Four Seasons, the quartet of Italian American crooners from New Jersey, might feel predictable, McNulty says he can’t resist one last hurrah. “The show,” he writes, “overflows with music that both captures a generation and transcends it.” Los Angeles Times

Mark Ballas says taking on the role of Frankie Valli was something he was born to do: “I had seen the show 12 times when I auditioned.” Los Angeles Times

Condensing an epic

From left, Sean O'Callaghan, Jared McNeill, Ery Nzaramba, Karen Aldridge and Toshi Tsuchitori perform the final scene of Peter Brook's "Battlefield."
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Times classical music critic Mark Swed took in a performance of Peter Brook’s “Battlefield” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The work is a deft one-hour condensation of Brook’s nine-hour magnum opus “The Mahabharata,” first performed in L.A. 30 years ago.

“Brook here doesn’t attempt a pocket ‘Mahabharata,’” writes Swed. “He instead produces an epilogue that is at once a looking back at his incomparable staging of ‘The Mahabharata’ and an opening for a new beginning.” Los Angeles Times

A fond adiós to L.A. arts leaders

Jeffrey Kahane conducts Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at UCLA's Royce Hall in April, one of his final concerts as music director of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Swed was also in attendance at the final concert led by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra musical director Jeffrey Kahane at UCLA’s Royce Hall. In his final show, which included renditions of Mozart’s last piano concerto and Schubert’s last symphony, Swed says that he found a “ferocity of intent, an example of Kahane’s compulsion to find love in the dark places.” Los Angeles Times

Swed also reports on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s heartfelt farewell to outgoing president Deborah Borda. “It has been an amazing journey,” musical director Gustavo Dudamel said in his farewell speech. Los Angeles Times

Outgoing L.A. Phil president Deborah Borda and conductor Gustavo Dudamel share a moment as she is honored during an L.A. Philharmonic performance.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Plus, Swed — dude is everywhere — examines the cycle of Schubert concerts led by Dudamel, including one that paid tribute to Borda. Los Angeles Times

Yuja Wang hits the theme park

In a break away from the concert hall, pianist Yuja Wang enjoys a day at Universal Studios.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Chinese classical pianist Yuja Wang had a half-day off in Los Angeles — and she spent it at Universal Studios, where the Times Deborah Vankin tailed her hanging around Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Village. The pianist is about to kick off an extended engagement with the L.A. Phil. “This fall,” she tells Vankin, “will be all about learning new repertoire.” Los Angeles Times

Making the rounds

Knight, in the meantime, has been hitting the galleries, with reviews of shows by photographer Ulrich Wüst at Christopher Grimes and Zadok Ben-David at Shoshana Wayne.

Cate Blanchett delivers Tristan Tzara’s 1918 Dada manifesto as a funeral eulogy in Julian Rosefeldt’s film, “Manifesto.”
(Julian Rosefeldt)

He also reviews German artist Julian Rosefeldt new film “Manifesto,” which brings together radical manifestos by more than 50 Futurists, Dadaists, Suprematists, conceptual artists. Bringing the whole thing together? Cate Blanchett, whose “conviction and persuasiveness,” writes Knight, “informs the individual texts.” Los Angeles Times

Blanchett and Rosefeldt, meanwhile, talk about the process of turning the 13-screen art installation into a film and how Blanchett had just 11 days to create and film 13 different characters. “Often we only had one take,” she tells Lisa Fung, “so it was kind of a bit like theatrical standup. Los Angeles Times

In other news…

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2016.
(Alex Brandon / AP)

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu made a stirring case for why Confederate monuments should be removed. A must-read about the power of symbols. The Pulse

— The Trump administration once again wants to slash funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Deadline Hollywood

— Los Angeles art dealer Perry Rubenstein has pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement and has been sentenced to 180 days in jail. The Art Newspaper

Jerry Perenchio, the entertainment mogul, art collector and patron, has passed away. LACMA’s Michael Govan remembers his philanthropy. Los Angeles Times

— The new documentary, “Restless Creature,” follows New York City ballet dancer Wendy Whelan on her final season with the company. Vulture

— Plus, Whelan reminisces about the first time she danced a ballet by George Balanchine — the day he died. New York Times

David Mamet is no fan of audience talk-back sessions following his shows. Onstage

— The Edward Albee Estate’s decision to bar an Oregon director from casting an African American in a key lead role says a lot about how works of theater are perceived, writes Alexis Soloski. The Guardian

— A studio visit with John Baldessari. Los Angeles Times

California Democrats have put a bronze statue of questionable aesthetic quality on the roof of their headquarters in the name of who knows what. Hyperallergic

And last but not least…

The post presidential paintings of Donald Trump. New Yorker

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