On Saturday, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosted its annual late-night event, “Muse ’til Midnight.” Located at the renowned and frequently Instagrammed lamp posts also known as Chris Burden’s exhibit Urban Light, the event featured a live concert that highlighted artists including Adrian Younge and his band Venice Dawn, The Drumetrics Collective and Anthony Valadez. In addition to live performances curated by ArtDontSleep, the event included never-before-seen exhibits, arts and crafts stations and a tasty variety of food and drinks. LACMA’s spectacular and eclectic event brought together hundreds of art lovers for an exciting and trendy after-hours museum experience.
This year’s event was centered around LACMA’s 50th anniversary, giving attendees an exclusive opportunity to view the “50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s Anniversary” exhibit. The exhibit includes a selection of 50 masterpieces gifted by 25 donors. These works originate from many different time periods, though most are from the 19th and 20th centuries. A standout is Claude Monet’s Two Women in a Garden, in which Monet incorporates light and color to enhance the subject of two women reading in a grass field. Another unique work is David Hockney’s The Jugglers, a single artwork comprised of 18 digital videos synchronized and presented on 18 different 55-inch screens with the song “The Stars and Stripes Forever” playing in the background. Other genres of art represented are American Pop Art, neoclassical paintings, Spanish Colonial Casta paintings and works from the 1960s, when LACMA was founded. These 50 diverse works of art represent the vast assortment of works that LACMA showcases, as well as the amount of significance the time periods had on the many art movements.
Positioned in the middle of the venue, several arts and crafts stations gave visitors the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind versions of recycled art, modeled after the Noah Purifoy’s exhibit Junk Dada. Guests used bits and pieces of lace, buttons and fabric to create their own unique masterpieces. Noah Purifoy, an artist and sculptor, contributed to the junk art movement that specializes in art with a message.
After the 1965 Watts Riots in Los Angeles, Purifoy began to create sculptures from the wreckage, inspiring artists everywhere to “make something out of nothing.” Fascinated by nature and its artistic process, Purifoy decided to move to Joshua Tree and create the first outdoor museum of environmental art. He took 10 acres of desert and created more than 120 junk sculptures. Some of his most eccentric pieces from the outdoor museum were featured in the Junk Dada exhibit, including collages and sculptures made from old cans, shoes and bicycles. Inspired by Purifoy’s art from neglected objects, DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe played music that “mashed disregarded and discarded sounds,” giving guests the full audio and visual experience.
Beyond the opening of new exhibits, “Muse ’til Midnight” offered an interesting selection of food for event-goers to try, including seafood and vegetarian gumbo, fried catfish with tartar sauce, andouille sausage, corn, old Bay Red potatoes and biscuits with gravy. Stylish guests held glasses of red wine, casually mingling and dancing to the live performances throughout the night.
The Drumetrics, a band from San Diego, opened the concert, welcoming artists and visitors with its assorted beats. The band’s songs, which rely heavily on percussion, resembled the type of music that one would hear at an electrified nightclub or as an opener at Coachella. Anthony Valadez, a turntablist from KCRW, engaged with the audience through his funky beats, jazzy vibes and smooth voice. The highlight of the main stage, though, was Adrian Younge and his band Venice Dawn, whose soulful performance grabbed the attention of everybody there. With a melodious and expressive sound, their performance was like time traveling to a concert from the 1960s. Performing their hit “Shot Me in the Heart,” the band had the whole floor swaying and cheering along to the spellbinding vocals and impressive guitar riffs.
On the third-floor gallery, DJ Rashida and J. Period performed next to Chris Burden’s Metropolis II. The sculpture, which was inspired by the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced city, is one of Burden’s most famous pieces. With the DJ’s contemporary beats that mirrored the modern art, guests were seen dancing happily to the electronic music while others admired the art of Robert Irwin’s Miracle Mile and other works of modern artists.
An enjoyable gallery party filled with art, dancing and food, LACMA’s annual “Muse ‘til Midnight” event reflects the essence of the museum — classy and eclectic. With a little something for everybody, one does not have to be a self-proclaimed art connoisseur to enjoy this event. LACMA’s collection of diverse and intriguing art represents the equally assorted and fascinating population of Los Angeles. With exhibits rich in history, food with variety and musicians with soul, this event continually sells out and attracts art lovers from all over the city.
Originally published in the Daily Trojan