Entertainment & Arts

Newsletter: Essential Arts & Culture: YOLA’s new Inglewood home, art inspired by destruction, a design controversy

Gustavo Dudamel, right, embraces architect Frank Gehry as they view Gehry’s model for the new YOLA Center.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

It’s the time of year that begs for iced coffee and even icier margaritas — not to mention a cool dose of cultural happenings. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, with the week’s essential art news:


When Gustavo Dudamel was appointed musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007, one of his priorities was establishing music programs for underserved communities. Since then, his Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) has gone on to travel the world. Now it is getting a new home in Inglewood designed by Frank Gehry. “Not only will it be a way to produce an unprecedented ethnically diverse new generation of musicians,” writes Times classical music critic Mark Swed, “but it also promises to be a new model for ways a cultural institution can serve a community.” Los Angeles Times

A model shows Frank Gehry’s design for the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center in Inglewood.
(Gehry Partners)

The Times’ Deborah Vankin has all the details on the new structure, which will be formally called the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood (not a mouthful at all). The $14.5-million, 25,000-square-foot project will occupy a building that once housed a Security Pacific Bank on La Brea Avenue. Yasuhisa Toyota, who designed the acoustics for Disney Hall, will work on the acoustics. Los Angeles Times

A model shows the concert configuration for the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood.
(Gehry Partners)


When the Thomas Fire blazed through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last December, Ojai-based artist Karon Davis was forced to flee in pajamas. Themes of destruction will be at the heart of her next exhibition, “Muddy Water,” which opens at Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles on Sept. 15. Of her installation, she tells Deborah Vankin, “I want the gallery to feel like you’re walking into the flood.” Los Angeles Times


Karon Davis prepares for her second solo exhibition at Wilding Cran Gallery in her Ojai studio.
(Michael Owen Blake / For The Times)


David Pagel has been hitting the white cubes this week and was intrigued by a “smartly focused survey” of works by Tom Wesselman at Gagosian Gallery that shows the artist “at the top of his game: playing with expectations by setting up situations which go every which way.” Los Angeles Times

“Still Life #61,” 1976, by Tom Wesselmann, at Gagosian.
(Robert McKeever / The Tom Wesselmann Estate and Gagosian / VAGA)

Plus, Stefan Simchowitz, the art dealer once dubbed the “art world’s patron Satan,” has a new gallery housed in a former newsstand in Beverly Grove — and arts contributor Catherine Wagley paid a visit. The Newsstand Project, as the space is called, currently has a show of work by the artist Lazaros that features jars filled with objects that serve as spells. But, as Wagley notes, “a spell for wealth is not for sale.” Los Angeles Times


Theodor Seuss Geisel was famous for creating children’s books such as “The Cat in the Hat.” But he also drew and painted for pleasure. The Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach is showcasing some of this work. In his “secret” works, Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, tells The Times’ Jessica Gelt, “you’re seeing the multidimensional side of Ted, and the depth of Ted.” Los Angeles Times

Theodor “Ted” Geisel at his easel in his La Jolla studio, circa 1970.
(Dr. Seuss Enterprises)


Artist Nico Avina has created a 7-1/2-foot tall plywood painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe bearing an eviction notice as a way of drawing attention to issues of gentrification in Boyle Heights. “As the people get displaced, so does their art,” he tells The Times’ Steve Saldivar. “The Virgen was a reflection of that. She’s also getting displaced.” Los Angeles Times

Artist Nico Avina holds his 7-1/2-foot-tall Virgin Mary holding an eviction notice.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)


Two months before the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is scheduled to begin demolition on a portion of its La Jolla building designed by the Philadelphia firm Venturi Scott Brown (VSB), more than seven dozen architectural historians and critics have signed an open letter describing the change as a “mistake.” Critics say a VSB-designed entrance, which will be removed as part of the expansion plan, is a valuable example of Postmodernism. But museum officials and architect Annabelle Selldorf say great thought has been put into the changes. Los Angeles Times

A view of the entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego as designed by Venturi Scott Brown in the ‘90s.
(Phillipp Scholz Rittermann)


Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” has died at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer. The Times’ obituary covers the paths she blazed: “Franklin’s impact transcended radio playlists, record charts and even musical matters,” writes Richard Cromelin. Los Angeles Times


Flowers and tributes are placed on Aretha Franklin’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the wake of her death.
(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

Times music writer Randall Roberts tells the story of the groundbreaking gospel album Franklin recorded in Watts in 1972. Los Angeles Times

Mark Swed recounts the unforgettable performance of Puccini’s “Nessum Dorma” at the 1998 Grammy Awards. Los Angeles Times

Jazz critic Nate Chinen examines Franklin’s jazz roots: “Jazz was central to her musicianship, however far she rambled.” NPR

Plus, artist Adrian Piper — who will have a show at the Hammer Museum in October — pens a tribute: “Her voice, her music, and her meaning gave meaning to my life, providing even in the most parched and deadening moments the narrative of rhythm, syncopation, movement, and song.” Artforum


For years, Richard Kraft has obsessively gathered Disneyland artifacts, including a 700-pound sculpture of Dumbo and a 48-foot long sea serpent from the Submarine Voyage. Later this month, his collection — believed to be one of the most substantial private collections of Disneyland memorabilia in existence — will go up for auction. For now, it is on view in Sherman Oaks. Jessica Gelt reports. Los Angeles Times

Nicholas and Richard Kraft with a Dumbo from Disneyland.
(Nicholas Kraft)


Janelle Zara has a good piece offering incoming MOCA director Klaus Biesenbach advice, including a great quote from LACE director Sarah Russin: “Get to know and think about L.A. artists as Angelenos and not transplants searching for cheaper studios.” Co-sign. Artnet

And Catherine Wagley has a terrific essay that pairs MOCA foibles with the plot of the L.A. art world murder mystery titled “Still Lives.” All I gotta say is: yes. Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles


— With the building it inhabits up for sale, the Rogue Machine theater company is relocating from Hollywood to Venice. Los Angeles Times

— The Center Theatre Group has launched a new program called FreePlay that will distribute free tickets to theatergoers under age 25 for previews at the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Los Angeles Times

— A review of the collected essays of pianist Alfred Brendel, which take on “sound, silence, sublimity, humor, and the performer’s critical role in the experience of music.” The Atlantic

Martin Puryear will represent the U.S. at the 2019 Venice Biennale. ARTnews

— The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens’ has named a new director for its art collections: Christina Nielsen, who comes from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Los Angeles Times

Christina Nielsen, the incoming director of art collections at the Huntington Library.
(Darren Pellegrino / Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens)

— A Leonardo Da Vinci scholar is challenging the attribution of “Salvator Mundi,” which recently sold for $450 million at auction. He alleges the canvas was not painted by Da Vinci, but by an assistant. MSN

— The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hoping to identify subjects in their “African American Portraits” exhibition. Facebook

— A research project by artist Andrea Fraser looks at where museum boards get their money. The Art Newspaper

— A look back at the time that Susan Sontag staged “Waiting for Godot” during the siege of Sarajevo. The Stage

— Changing the gaze: Considering the work of female cinematographers. The Atlantic

— Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been named chairman of the Pritzker Architecture Prize jury. Chicago Tribune

Elon Musk has proposed a 3.6-mile tunnel to Dodger Stadium. Alissa Walker provides five recommendations for improving game-day traffic — like making the stadium easier to walk to. Curbed

— One of the reasons you need to listen to this podcast with L.A. painter Jim Shaw is so you can hear him doing his growling musician voice. We Eat Art


Welcome to your weekend time-suck: artist-directed music videos. Artsy

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