My last day in LA was spent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). I arrived before the museum opened for the day, which worked out quite nicely. The campus is beautiful and it was such a treat to spend time soaking up the sun after enduring another brutal Chicago winter. The modernist architecture of the buildings definitely appealed to me, and I spent some time wandering between the separate structures reflecting on how these exterior walkways were very much of a southern climate. I love these simple differences in how institutions are similar and different from one another - this would never work in the midwest! It was also notable how much “empty” space there were around the buildings, and how much space there was as a result for visitors to simply relax. While it took me a few minutes to orient myself on this campus, I felt like I had space to breathe and gather my thoughts. This seemed like space for people, civic space. I did not anticipate spending so much time thinking about building and space planning in the context of museums during my visit to LACMA!
I ended up spending the majority of my time in the exhibition 3D: Double Vision, once the museum opened. From the website for the exhibition:
“The quest for perfect 3D representation drives innovation, stimulates creative expression, and sparks wonder in generation after generation. 3D: Double Vision is the first American exhibition to survey a full range of artworks, dating from 1838 to the present, that produce the illusion of three dimensions. These artworks function by activating binocular vision—the process by which our brains synthesize the information received by our two eyes into a single, volumetric image.
The history of 3D begins in the 1830s with the invention of the stereoscope. Initially considered a scientific device, the stereoscope soon entered popular culture, as Victorian audiences became fascinated with stereo photographs depicting faraway lands, colossal monuments, current events, and comic scenes. 3D motion picture technology followed in the 20th century, along with consumer products such as View Masters and Stereo Realist cameras. Lenticular printing and holography generate dimensional effects without the aid of glasses. In the digital present, artists have access to all these technologies for generating virtual images.
Drawn from the realms of art, science, mass culture, and entertainment, the artworks in 3D: Double Vision will dazzle the eyes and provoke the imagination. Ultimately, to experience 3D is to engage with questions about the nature of perception, the allure of illusionism, and our relationship with the technologies that create such images” (LACMA, 2019).
I knew I would not have a chance to see the entire show, so I gave myself permission to simply enjoy it rather than trying to absorb every detail. It was great! I meandered my way through the 1800s and early 1900s - the exhibit was roughly organized chronologically and by format - and ended with the use of 3D technologies in popular cinema.
I then met up with the Digital Assets Specialist at LACMA, who I met after her presentation at the VRA conference. She showed me a few highlights from around the campus and we discussed all things in the realm of museums and our respective cities. Further confirmation that there are so many wonderful folks in this profession! This visit was the perfect way of capping off an information-packed trip out west.
LACMA. (2019). 3D: double vision. Retrieved from https://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/3d-double-vision