Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 1: LA

Day 1: Los Angeles

Weather: Hot in LA

QOTD: Did you have a favorite piece?

Up early to get a walk in before it’s too hot. So, from 6am to 6:45 we walk the hood around The Wilshire. 
The hotel restaurant is on the roof, tables surround the pool

We're dining pre-sunrise, it's very pleasant until they start cleaning the deck with bleach

Then up to the roof for breakfast: oatmeal for DB, yogurt parfait for THB, decaf au laits. Unfortunately, as we’re nearing the end of our meal, they decide to wash the decking with bleach. Hmmmmmm…we shift to another booth on the other side of the pool. Otherwise, it’s a lovely spot, and just us.

The AJF group gathers in the lobby, the first time we’re all in one place. There are a lot of us, close to 30. Plenty of room on the bus:

Right next door; owner of Free Hand started Craft in America, much of which is filmed here for showing on PBS

The theme of the current jewelry show

Our first stop is very close to The Wilshire: the Craft in America Politically Speaking show, next store to the Free Hand Gallery. Several of the artists are on hand to explain their pieces in the show, articulate as to the background and meaning of what we’re seeing and experiencing. It’s a chance for us to reconnect with the artists, one of whom, Nancy Worden, had been on an AJF trip years ago with THB and DB. Her work is large, intriguing, and full of her bravado and intent.

The group in Free Hand




Sandra; piece is composed of ampules with oil inside

Kat is not here, THB liked this piece 

And, this is an interesting shopping area and THB and DB take the opportunity to buy some gifts and bedding at various design stores, as well as visit to a jewelry gallery where a near-purchase almost happened.

DB in classic pose in front of a jewelry store

What happens when an AJF group encounters a jewelry store

Back on the bus to move through the morass of traffic in downtown LA (it feels like permanent gridlock, maybe global warming can thaw this thing out…when the west coast goes underwater perhaps?) and end up at Lois Boardman’s house for lunch.

Lois is the star of the weekend! She’s given her “accumulation” of art jewelry to LACMA and this is the opening show highlighting some of the pieces. Lois does not think of herself as a collector: she’s someone who early on got hooked on jewelry as an art form (when she was a roomie of Helen Drutt’s way back in the day) and starting buying what she liked and could afford. She went to Chouinard Art Institute, and was a very active in the LA art and craft scene, becoming a member and chair of LACMA’s Decorative Art and Design Council.

Lois in a wood "leaf" piece

Regan tureen

Goro teapot

Weiser piece

Statom glass piece

She’s 84, spry and a terrific hostess. Lunch is catered, and served buffet style: excellent pork loin (a THB fave), Caesar salad, and a berry crumble for THB.

Along with hosting the AJF group, Lois has invited a number of other people to lunch who are gathering for an art jewelry symposium as well as the opening of Lois’ “accumulation” show, Beyond Bling.

Curatorial staff

From lunch, back on the bus, back into the LA traffic, and back to LACMA for a pre-opening tour of Beyond Bling. What a great show…what a great accumulation! Lois truly understands giving: the pieces have been gifted to LACMA and the curators have taken over: cataloging, documenting the provenance of the pieces, conservation requirements, and then selecting what pieces to include in the opening.

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THB has a fetish about museums (or is it a peeve?): the goal of any museum show should be to make the art on display look good. Unfortunately, that is not always the case (actually, full disclosure: some of this peevishness may be attributed to THB pre-cataract surgeries). Here, LACMA has succeeded. The clever sorting of the work, the lighting, the easy-to-read attributions (yes, sadly, it is sometime hard to read attributions in museums), and the high quality of the work all combined to make this a terrific show.

A short and hot walk back to The Wilshire, a rest up (only one member slept through the bus departure time), back into the rush hour traffic (3 miles, or 20+ minutes) to a private room in the back of Osteria Mozza.

We’ve eaten at the Pizzeria Mozza next door several times, and it was excellent both times. The Osteria is the upscale spot, opened a few years after the Pizzeria. Dinner is lovely. The room is the right size for our group (three tables of 9-10); the first course is served family style: baby gem salad and a burrata and cherry tomato combo. THB has the short ribs on polenta (THB pretty much always orders the option that comes on polenta) and DB has the fish; both are wonderful.

The veggies are served family style and would have been a great entrée on their own: a bean concoction with croutons, roasted cauliflower, maybe a garbanzo mix, and spinach, accompanied by a yogurt dressing.

Dessert was served alternating style (what is that?): every other person had the sorbet/ice cream combo with a giant crunchy waffle cookie stuck in the middle and every other person was served a large slice of “nonna” cake (more “custard” like than a torte). Somehow THB did not pass his ice cream dish around; DB was more gracious in sharing and THB was getting too full to help her much.

The ride back to The Wilshire was a lot easier at 9:30…except now the road-repair crews were out in full force and thus the ride was still stop and go on the 3 mile return.