Monday, September 27, 2010

Malibu - Two Ferraris in Five Minutes

First spotting: 1:45 pm, Monday, September 27, 2010.
Ferrari 612.
Von's parking lot, Sunset and Pacific
Coast Highway.

As the owner parked and left his car, I had the courage to walk
around it and admire it. Suddenly, I heard a strange humming
sound emanating from the car. I assumed that it was some kind
of an alarm that would alert the owner if I got too close.

Second spotting: 1:50 pm. Monday, September 27
, 2010.
Ferrari F450-7, The
Getty Villa parking garage entrance.

I joined the crowd of gawkers. The owner was justifiably proud of
what appeared to be his new toy. The top was down, so you could
see inside. I said that I had now seen two Ferraris in five minutes
and asked if everyone in Malibu owned a Ferrari. He smiled.

Me and my dream car, Ferrari F458. Ferrari
showroom, San Francisco, August 1, 2005.

Until my two recent spottings in Malibu, this is as close as I ever
got to a real Ferrari. I have a friend in New York who keeps one at
his place in Water Mill on Long Island. He has offered to take me
for a ride, but I never managed to get there.

The Ferrari Story

Ferrari Photos

More Ferrari Photos

Now back to Malibu and Ferraris.

22 Ferraris drive thru Malibu

Ferrari F40 thrown in as closing gift with purchase of Malibu home

A personal footnote. If there is a Malibu Ferrari owner who would like to offer
me a ride, I would welcome it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Renzo Piano and Olmec Sculpture: A Triumphal Partnership

Above: Interior, Resnick Pavilion, Olmec Sculpture Exhibition

In his remarks at the Press Preview on September 23, 2010, Renzo
Piano defined his design of museums as both architecture and art -
an art that is sympathetic to works of art. He decried "white boxes"
as a solution to museum architecture because white boxes are not
sympathetic to viewing works of art. From Piano's perspective,
natural light enhances viewing works of art; therefore, he creates
spaces in which natural light can be managed as a corollary to the
aesthetic experience. Although he did not say this specifically, we
can assume that he does not want his architecture to either over-
whelm or distract from the appreciation of works of art.

Achieving this delicate balance is one of Renzo Piano's hallmarks;
it distinguishes his architecture from others who pursue what could
readily be described as egocentric statements in which the presen-
tation of works of art must be accommodated within the boundaries
of the personal style of the architect. Unfortunately, most of the
new museums around the world - except those designed by Renzo Piano
- represent this philosophy. Since the opening of Frank Ghery's
Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain, virtually every museum board of
directors planning a new building has attempted to find "starchitects"
(star architects - names of firms associated with grandiose projects.
not all of which are well-designed.) who could perform "Bilboa magic."
Fortunately, the decision makers at LACMA exercised wiser judgment.

The success of Renzo
Piano's philosophy is amply demonstrated in the Resnick Pavilion. Above,
it is possible to see the skylight louver system that controls the natural
light in the gallery. There are three exhibition bays: central - Olmec
sculpture - a definitive exhibition of this early Mexican culture, right:
Resnick collection - the personal collection of the benefactors for whom the
new building is named and left: fashion - selections from LACMA's vast his-
torical fashion collection. Each exhibition in its own bay. utilizes a
different level of natural light. As the sun rises and falls; as the
weather changes from day-to-day, adjustment are made with an
iphone app.

In addition to praise for the architect, the installation design team
deserve commendation for their sensitive presentation of the Olmec
artifacts. Although relatively few in number, each of the Olmec sculptures
absorbs the vast space of the gallery without being overwhelmed by its size.

LinkRenzo Piano Building Workshop

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Olmec - From Natural History Museums to Art Msueums




4 - the chicano moratorium by Jaime Cruz ...
6 - ask a wise latina by Josefina López ...
9 - dolores huerta at 80 by Abel Salas ...
10 - flor y canto festivals by Michael Sedaño ...
10 - alarcon's "ce uno one" review by Nina Serrano ...
13 - un solo sol kitchen byAntonia de la Torre ...
16 - lacma olmec exhibit by Allon Schoener ...

LACMA Presents First West Coast Exhibtion of
Olmec Masterworks / October 2, 2010 - January
9, 2011

With great anticipation, I am looking forward to seeing
the Olmec exhibition at LACMA. Among what have been
described as Mesomaerican cultures, Aztec, Maya, Mixtec,
Olmec and Zapotec, the oldest is Olmec with roots tracing
back to the sixth century BCE. During my lifetime, I have
witnessed the transformation of Mesomaerican cultures
from the domain of natural history museums to art

My first contact with Olmec art, this ancient Mexican culture
most notable for its highly developed stone carving technology
producing massive stone heads that have no equal in human
history, occurred when I was a graduate student in art history
at Yale. I had the good fortune to attend a seminar focusing on
the Olmec led by the renowned Pre-Columbian scholar, George
Kubler. As an art historian, Kubler was more interested in a
stylistic interpretation of Olmec culture in which he saw the art
objects as having a life of their own, seeming sometimes to be
devoid of an association with the human beings who created

The Olmecs utilized some of the hardest stones to be found on
this planet: basalt, granite and jade. Kubler marveled at the
incredible technological accomplishment of the Olmec sculptors,
who, like Ancient Egyptians, managed to create sculpture from
blocks of stone without the benefit of metal tools.

Among indigenous American cultures, there were varied writing
systems; however, there were no written languages in the
European and Asian traditions. As a consequence, we know
virtually nothing about the Olmec except the sculptures that
remain. Without a written language or some other method for
recording events, Olmec society remains shrouded by myth
and mystery more than in fact. There is much unresolved
about when and how the Olmec lived, prospered and disappeared.

Other Mesoamerican societies had highly developed glyph systems
which recorded military and political events. Buildings, walls
and stela were inscribed with historical, political and
genealogical information. While there are on-going investigations
of these written glyph systems, the spoken languages of a number
of North, South and Central American indigenous cultures persist.
Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru have one or more official indigenous
spoken languages. In the American southwest, the Navajo language
claims 200,000 speakers.

In Mexico and Guatemala, the Maya retain their cultural identity
and their their spoken language remains functional. While serving
as a consultant to the Organization of American States, I witnessed
the perpetuation of the Maya oral tradition. During lunch at the
home of the leader of a woman's weaving cooperative in Flores,
Guatemala, an elder was teaching the son of our host Ancient Maya
in an adjacent space. Recognition of elders as custodians of oral
tradition, is common in other American, African and Asian indigenous

On previous occasions, I have seen Olmec sculpture in traditional
museum settings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of
Natural History and National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
I believe that the Resnick Pavilion designed by Renzo Piano will
provide a new and enhanced opportunity to view Olmec sculpture bathed
in natural light. This might simulate the environment in which these
sculptures were created rather than their being seen in confined
traditional museum galleries with artificial illumination. As the
light outside changes, so will the light inside. It promises to be