Summer and planned trips near, and still so many cultural events to be seen and recommended in Southern California. So with the clock ticking here is a short list, I reviewed on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites everywhere.:

At the Hammer, opened this week is an exhibition of the works of Marisa Merz, an Italian painter, sculptor and installation artist. And if that sounds busy, her creations certainly are, the result of working with traditional and non-traditional materials, and processes, in a variety of scales and setting.

This includes her early sculptures and her later multi media installations, covering five decades of her challenging conventional art, while expressing her own life experiences.

You might ask just what is this art all about. Suggesting an answer is the adjacent Hammer exhibit of recent acquisitions, which is described as –quote- “histories of recent artistic practices that are disparate, divergent, and reflective of the broad range of identities, disciplines, and forms that give shape to an idea of contemporary life,” and I add, to contemporary art.

At the Getty, among its many offerings, most provocative for me, someone who appreciates art and design but as a writer deals in words, is the exhibit: Concrete Poetry: Words and Sounds in Graphic Space.’’

Explored is a 50s movement that according to the Getty, sought to break down the barriers between the visual arts and the written word, that a poem was not just words on a page, but a spatial construct whose design was central to its content.

And, yes, this includes melding a poem to decorate a concrete cube; hence the title “Concrete Poetry

Also at the Getty, is another different exhibit: Eyewitness Views, a collection of over fifty works of art capturing actual events as they happened in 18th Century Europe.

On view are scenes that range from a spectacular Venetian carnival, to the dramatic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Top of the news, page one items, albeit in oils and on canvas, drawn under deadline by artists of the day. Historians and news hawks should love it.

And if you can’t make it to Italy this summer, there is an exhibit entitled the lure of Italy that in the spirit of a dated travelogue captures in painting the essence of Italy’s attractions.

At LACMA, the featured exhibit this summer is a focus on Latin and Latin American artists,. Explored are affinities within artworks relative to immigration and political repression, dislocation and diaspora, and personal memory and utopian ideals. Its entitled “Home—So Different, So Appealing, “ And also is so topical.

Meanwhile, this commentary goes on vacation, to coincide with a hiatus in the daily KBU news report. But that should not stop anyone from enjoying the regions cultural attractions



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Parallel careers as an urban planner and a journalist, principally at present airing commentaries on pubic radio 99.1 KBU.FM The many arrows in my quiver have included Emmy award winning reporter/ producer for local Fox Television News, design critic for the Los Angeles Times, urban affairs reporter for The New York Times, an editor of The New York Post, contributor to various popular and professional publications, news services and broadcast outlets, including Reuters, NET, NBC, CBS, NPR and the BBC. Founding editor of the East Harlem (NY) Independent. A diversity of professional positions and consultancies in the private and public sectors, (Metro, Disney Imagineering, Howard Hughes, M. Milken, NYC Educational Construction Fund, US Comptroller of the Currency etc,) assorted academic appointments (UCLA, USC, CCNY, Art Center etc.), and always open to new challenge. And let us not forget fashioning sand castles and acting on 90210, crafting TV docs, design reviews, master plans. Books: "The Dream Deferred: People, Politics and Planning in Suburbia," "L.A. Lost and Found," an architectural history of Los Angeles, "L.A. Follies," a collection of essays, and co-author of "The New York City Handbook." Writings have appeared in academic texts, commentaries on the web, scripts for TV, and wherever, latest the Architects Newspaper, The Planning Report and Planetizen.

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