All of a sudden the rain had stopped, the sun was out, and Spring was upon us, and looking at my calendar I realized it has been six months since I last visited the Getty.
That really is too long to go without venturing to the Getty Center to check out its always-engaging parade of exhibitions, possibly take in an interesting performance, maybe a talk. With no admission charges, it’s a deal., and so I comment this week on public radio 97.5 KBU, and select websites. And with both the Museum off the 405 and the Villa off the PCH, being relatively nearby, I think of the Getty as Malibu’s cultural center.
The current featured exhibit is on the French 18th century sculptor and draftsman Edme Bouchardon, who quite frankly I was not familiar with. That the exhibit shed light on a relatively unknown artist, at least to me, is one of the things I love about the Getty, for Bouchardon was a very prolific artist during the reign of Louis XV and the days before the French revolution. Indeed, he served as the Royal Artist, producing in particular exquisite sculptures of the king and the French aristocracy. The detailing is fascinating, and I found myself mesmerized. Also revealing was his drawings, including those of ordinary people.The large exhibit is said to be the first on Bouchardon traveling beyond the continent, and in a word, is “enlightening.” It runs until April 2d.
Also on display on loan at the Getty, and also enlightening, is a single work by Degas, labeled the Russian Dancers. It is one of his many works he did in pastel, and is a focus of a most welcome detailed explanation of the artist’s experimentation with color in his later years.
As a media maven, I was looking forward to seeing the temporary exhibit entitled Breaking News, which explores how artists had incorporated news images, from the Vietnam War and recent “War on Terror” into their art, as political and personal commentary. Having been a journalist during this period, I found the artists renderings mostly pretentious; the reality I feel did not need a veneer of art to make a point.
The day ended for us with a rousing, performance of Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band It was blues with a beat, from the deep South. Thomas is an original, and great, and set hands clapping and arms waving: a fitting finale to a diverting day at the Getty.