Entertainment & Arts

Roundup: Preserving Norm’s, Zaha’s Tokyo stadium, Hirst on Mars

Norm’s on La Cienega
The owner of the property that is home to the historic Norm’s Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles recently got a permit to demolish the building. But preservation groups are trying to get this prominent example of Googie architecture declared a monument.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The fight to preserve Norm’s on La Cienega Boulevard, the chilly reception for Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Stadium design and George Lucas’ plan to keep L.A. as a plan B for his museum — there’s a whole lot of architecture going down in the Roundup this week. But there’s also follow-up on the Charlie Hebdo attacks, a report about Damien Hirst’s art on Mars and a bot that writes about art. Which makes me think that maybe I don’t need to come to work anymore...

— It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To mark it, have a gander at Glenn Ligon’s painting “Untitled (I Am a Man).” As Ligon says in the related audio, it provides an opportunity to think about history as a process rather than a series of fixed events.

— In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, France’s Chateau de Versailles has hung a portrait of the satirist Voltaire with a wall text that reads, “What is Tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity.” (Artinfo)

— Speaking of which, The Times had an interesting round-up of essays related to satire, art and culture on Sunday — including the role of cartoons and a historical look at satire in American literature. (Plus, a contribution from me, on the way satire is shaped by political and cultural circumstance.)


— The nonprofit group Architecture for Humanity has abruptly shut down and will be filing for bankruptcy protection. 

— “A turtle waiting for Japan to sink so that it can swim away.” Japanese architect Arata Isozaki isn’t exactly loving Zaha Hadid’s proposed stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

— Architect Jean Nouvel states he will not attend the opening of his new French concert hall after tousles with the leadership there. 

— In a week in which Ray Bradbury’s house was demolished in Cheviot Hills (by L.A. starchitect Thom Mayne no less) and the Googie landmark Norm’s on La Cienega was threatened with demolition, Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne looks at the state of preservation in Los Angeles — complete with architecture-poetry kicker.


— Plus, L.A. Magazine has a list of a dozen endangered Los Angeles buildings.

— Really looking forward to seeing all kinds of Unhappy Hipsters-style photos from the new Wired Magazine offices.

— Author John Buntin writes that gentrification isn’t as common as you think. He says many poor will often stay in a neighborhood as it changes. (But I wonder if that could be a symptom of being unable to afford to move anywhere else.)

— George Lucas is threatening to bring his museum to L.A. if Chicago doesn’t work out. 

— The British spacecraft that was just rediscovered on Mars? It contains a piece of art by Damien Hirst. Which means that Earth is represented artistically by Mr. Spin Paintings on Mars. Humanity, you deserve whatever befalls you.  

— A team of researchers has put together a statistical profile of the blue chip art collecting class: “Today’s boom in the market for contemporary art is based on the spending habits of just 0.07 percent of those who can afford it.”

— Impending FAA regulations could limit the use of drones in art. (ArtsJournal)  

— Former MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel talks about the upcoming debut of the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in downtown Los Angeles — and the ways in which he intends to keep the space true to Los Angeles.


— Sotheby’s in London wins a case saying that it was not negligent in failing to identify a painting by Caravaggio. (ArtsJournal)

— In better news, the San Diego Museum of Art has just landed a new painting by Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán: “St. Francis in a Grotto,” from c. 1655. 

— Better than most art writing: Novice Art Blogger, an algorithm that processes abstract works of art and then spits out a description. (More details here.)

Draw with emoji. This is really addictive. (Studio 360)  

— And last but not least, some important child-rearing advice: how to tell your children they are not artists.

Find me on the Twitters @cmonstah.

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