Monthly Archives: December 2011

Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

James Ensor 2.0: “Christ’s Entry into Brussels” Becomes Performance Art

Two bottle stoppers from Vive L.A Social, Mathis Collins, 2011
Vive L.A Social (details), Mathis Collins, 2011. Images courtesy of Mathis Collins

The unruly figures in James Ensor’s massive painting Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 have sneaked off the canvas and into bottles across Los Angeles. They’re the cast of characters in a new performance work by French artist Mathis Collins…. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

Creating an Online Collaboration Tool for Scholars

Digital Mellini screenshot

Last month, I gave a presentation with my colleague Tina Shah at the annual Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference in Atlanta about an online collaboration tool for scholars that several of us in the Web group at the Getty have… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes

In Rehearsal with Inara George and Van Dyke Parks

inara_george

Saturday Nights at the Getty enjoys performing from aerial silk. It’s mostly a concert series, but it often features film, dance, poetry, or some improbably awesome musical mashup, like Irish mariachi or hip-hop violin. Earlier this season Inara George and… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

The Manuscript Files: A Medieval Holiday Message

A nativity scene in the Abbey Bible / Italian

On the opening page of the Abbey Bible, the first image we encounter is this roundel containing a scene of the Nativity of Christ. According to Christian tradition, late in her pregnancy Mary traveled with Joseph to Bethlehem for a… More»

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Posted in Architecture and Design, Behind the Scenes, Prints and Drawings

The Oakes Brothers’ Final Week at the Getty

Trevor Oakes completes the final panels of his drawing of the Getty’s Central Garden

Ryan and Trevor Oakes are close to completing their three-week drawing project, in which they’ve been rendering the Getty Center and Central Garden exactly as the human eye views it. Their last day here is this Saturday, December 24. Their… More»

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Posted in Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute

T-Minus 30 Days to Citywide Performance Art Festival

Three Weeks in May / Suzanne Lacy

The Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival opens on January 19. For 11 days, artists will be activating public spaces across the city with a variety of performances and public art. From Pomona to Santa Monica beach, these… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Looking at Los Angeles through the Lens

Los Angeles / Garry Winogrand

Much of what the world sees of L.A. is in movies or on TV. But a new exhibition opening today at the Getty Center offers an enticing glimpse of the city’s past through the lenses of photographers—some well known, some… More»

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Posted in Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Madonna and Child Visit from Hearst Castle

Madonna and Child / school of Duccio di Buoninsegna

Starting tomorrow, a golden Virgin and Child from Duccio di Buoninsegna’s workshop will be adorning the Getty Center paintings galleries (North Pavilion, Gallery 201). Paintings by Duccio are astoundingly rare—there are fewer than 15 in existence, the Maestà in Siena… More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

The Quotable Man Ray

Datebooks and photographs from the Man Ray materials acquired by the Research Institute

Man Ray’s black and white portraits are widely celebrated, but two recent acquisitions by the Getty Research Institute shift the focus back on the famous photographer, providing a revealing picture of the often private artist. The first acquisition, a compact… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

All in the Family: Lyonel Feininger, His Sons, and Photography

Bauhaus / Lyonel Feininger, March 22, 1929

Many know Lyonel Feininger as an accomplished painter, printmaker, and caricaturist whose work is forever linked to the Bauhaus movement. He was Walter Gropius’s first faculty appointment to the Weimar art school in 1919, and he helped shape an artistic… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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