Artists talking about artists: A new video series from LACMA explores the collection


Conceptualist John Baldessari is fascinated by the ways in which a small canvas by Belgian surrealist René Magritte questions what we think we know. Photographer Catherine Opie is beguiled by the embrace of a pair of wrestlers in an 1899 canvas by Thomas Eakins. And Mario Ybarra Jr., known for his long-running social practice studio Slanguage, reflects on the ways in which Ed Kienholz finds poetry in everyday materials.

A new video series debuting this week from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art captures some of L.A.’s most notable artists reflecting on works in the museum’s permanent collection.

Artists on Art, as it is called, was organized by Modern art curator Carol Eliel, who says she launched the series because she was curious to see what drew artists to the museum.


“I always think of artists as one of LACMA’s most important and discerning audiences,” she says. The new series, she adds, “give the public special insights into some of the works at LACMA that intrigue artists and feed into their own creativity.”

In addition to Baldessari, Opie and Ybarra, the first wave of videos also feature Alison Saar discussing an intimate wood sculpture by Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, Tom Knechtel on a drawing by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, and Judy Fiskin on an early ’70s photograph by Lee Friedlander.

Future featurettes are scheduled to include prominent L.A. figures such as Ed Ruscha, light and space artist Helen Pashgian and abstractionist Roy Dowell.

The videos are short (about two minutes each) but they are sweet — and offer an artist’s eye view of some of the aesthetic treasures our city holds.

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