Just as many of the objects in LACMA’s collection are steeped in history and lore, so is the museum itself. Here’s a little quiz to test your knowledge of our past. Thanks to the Collections Information Department and their Archives Project for unearthing these tantalizing tidbits.
1. Name two local artists hired in 1965 to help install the Ahmanson galleries (Hint: these artists are included in our Collections Online browse of Southern California artists featured in LACMA’s collection.)
2. Artist Claes Oldenburg said he was fascinated with the idea of working at this corporation because he “wanted to know what people who have been making animals without genitalia for thirty years are like.” To what corporation was Oldenburg referring? (Hint: Oldenberg partnered with this company for LACMA’s 1970 Art and Technology project.)
3. Speaking of Art and Technology, some artists were met with hostility at their partner corporations. For instance, when John Chamberlain asked for staff feedback at his host company, Rand Corporation, some employees didn’t hold back in expressing their opinion of the artist. Staff comments included “Drop dead”; “Why don’t you leave?”; “You’re fired”; and “You have a beautiful sense of color and a warped, trashy idea of what beauty and talent is.” While some of the indifference (or worse) directed toward certain artists may have been unwarranted, certain artists like George Brecht pushed the limits. Name two rather far-fetched projects conceived by Brecht with institutions JPL and Rand in mind.
4. Name the famous actress who was arrested for shoplifting $86 worth of merchandise from the May Company department store (now LACMA West) in 1966.
5. What industry award was won by the film Burn Hollywood Burn (not to be confused with our new Matta, Burn, Baby, Burn)—a film shot at the neighboring La Brea Tar Pits and starring Ryan O’Neal, Sylvester Stallone, Jackie Chan, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, and Coolio?
Answers after the jump . . .
1. Ed Ruscha and Joe Goode.
2. Disney Corp.
3. The two rather far-fetched concepts submitted by artist George Brecht for the exhibition were a study of the aerodynamics of the alphabet; “the behavior of letters under conditions of subsonic and supersonic airflow,” and moving the land mass of the British Isles into the Mediterranean Sea. While Brecht went on to publish a book about the first idea, his second idea was never realized.
4. Hedy Lamarr. Her defense? Lamar testified she planned to have her manager pay for the articles and had unintentionally carried them out of the store because she was distracted by a number of issues in her life: She had neglected her health, causing “digestive” trouble and an infection of her teeth and gums, leaving her “in a great deal of pain.” She was going through her sixth divorce, this time from husband Lewis Boles who drank and would “come home through the window.” And, she was depressed after seeing the movie The Pawnbroker. The jury’s verdict? Not guilty.
5. Burn Hollywood Burn won five Razzie awards in 1999 for worst film of the year. In fact, Burn Hollywood Burn was also named worst film of the decade.
Got any LACMA-related history you want to share? Let us know in the comments or email Renee.