Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weegee Bored

Weegee and his camera

 "The worshippers of stars are a heroic clan."--Weegee

Our Visit to MOCA in Los Angeles (Museum of Contemporary Art)
Being on holiday for two weeks is awesome! Its great to have time to do basically, nothing. Yet, after about a week, the beaming smile turns just into a straight line. Kind of bored. Grateful. But bored.

When you have three bored kids it reaches a point where you will die if you have to entertain them another minute or else you will kill them. Then, you think, Ah. Culture. That's what we need. A bit of culture!

We piled the feuding kids in the mini van and drove to downtown LA. The traffic was horrific and the kids were bickering and it was plain miserable. We considered turning around and heading back home but we were determined since we'd already invested an hours drive.

By the time we exited the freeway, we had been on the road for nearly two hours! Then, we had troubles following the poorly marked signs for the museum so we had to pull over and find the directions from the website. Luckily, it wasn't too far from the warehouse district which is where we ended up-fruits and veggies and sea food are interesting, but, not exactly a charming part of town. Kind of smelly.

We discovered that we had to park in the Disney Concert Hall parking lot. We did that quite easily. We had to pay $20 for parking but were guaranteed $11 change when we left. (It's true). It was no problem as a working adult, but that would have been quite a sacrifice back in my student days!

Of all our kids I would say Jovanny (Enrique) was the most excited since he loves art and galleries. Oliver is pretty open to the idea. He has studied a bit about art and artists through a program at his school call Meet the Masters. Miguel, on the other hand, would probably rather have a root canal than go to a museum of any kind. He has very specific interests-WWE (Wrestling) and video games (mostly of WWE wrestling).  His body exudes boredom and disinterest as he follows you about-waiting. Waiting. Looking at you and waiting. Not looking. He actually will look at the blank ceiling or wall rather than the art that is hung upon it. Art, to Miguel, is not to be experienced. It is to be tolerated.

Sculpture outside MOCA

We Finally Arrive!
Bearing  the time it took to get there, the traffic, the price of parking and then attitudes and then imagining the traffic on the road home, Roland and I were kind of grumpy. Kind of wondering if it was all really worth it. 

We decided to split up. Jovanny on his own, Oliver with Roland, and me and Miguel. My task was not an easy one. But, remember, I am a teacher. A teacher must always find a way. Give us a rubber band and a paper clip and we might make an airplane. You never know!

How to Interest the Disinterested?
So I had an hour to try to make the museum a little less boring for Miguel. My technique: identify one piece of art he finds the most interesting in each room and tell me why. I know, its such a teacher-like thing to do. But, it worked to an extent. The only problem was that he didn't take too long to find somthing. There wasn't enough time for me to examine the works I was interested in. So once he found his art piece and read the information about it, he was done. And then he did the waiting thing.

Those Were the Days My Friend
Gone are the days when I could stroll into a museum and quietly examine what intrigued me. After about an hour I would have a cup of tea or coffee in the cafe reading more about what I loved. Or just reading a book. Then, I would casually stroll through more of the museum and leave WHEN I FELT LIKE IT!

Miguel "enjoying" some sculpture
My method got us through the first gallery which consisted of some well-known artists such as Piet Mondrian and Andy Warhol among many others. Miguel found some of the modern art amusing such as the white canvas of Mark Rothko.

Or Not
I reached a point, by the time we entered the next exhibit, that I just stopped worrying about him. I'd given up. I focused rather on the Weegee Naked Hollywood photography section. Besides, I couldn't really apply my technique here. Miguel was pretty good about it, but I sensed his innate boredom.

Naked Hollywood Exhibit
Weegee was a photographer who became well-known in New York for his photos of New York City. He came to Los Angeles in 1947 and spent about four years here photographing film premieres, Hollywood award ceremonies to skid row and strip joints. He published a book of his photographs called Naked Hollywood. He is perhaps best known for his distorted images of celebrities.

I love this portrayal of Hollywood. It's true that things are literally distorted here and Weegee's art just demonstrates this idea so well. This was an exhibit that really interested me as a fan of a celebrity. Weegee, in fact, stopped taking so many photos of the stars and turned the cameras on the fans. He found them more interesting.

He also found mannequins interesting, but for a different reason-I hope!

Icon Exhibit
Jovanny spent the whole time in the Kenneth Anger short film exhibit where he noted all the "Lady Gaga references." Of course he does not realize that as lovely as she is Lady Gaga is one big reference to other artists and performers.

Shhh. Don't tell him!

Marilyn by Weegee

I have to say that by the time we all walked out of the museum, we felt pretty good. The ray of sunshine was back in our lives.Perhaps Miguel  learned how to keep himself at least a little bit interested in art. I'm glad he gave it a try!

The traffic back to the OC was lovely!

If you are in the Los Angeles area and are interested in seeing this exhibit or any of the other works of modern art on display, its good to know that MOCA is free every Thursday from 5-8. Website:

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