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Desert X - Doug Aitken - Mirage

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Desert X - Doug Aitken - Mirage

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  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X


I was not going to miss the opportunity to witness Doug Aitken's Mirage during its much hyped run of 2017. I have been a admirer of Aitken's art for some time, particularly his pieces that encompass mirrors, nature, and/or cities. After seeing his Still Life exhibition at Regen Projects in 2014 and his first North American survey, Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, at MOCA in 2016, I decided that wherever his art would be, so would I. During a private tour organized by MOCA, I had the opportunity to meet Doug which was a highlight in my art world narrative.

When the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Board invited me to come enjoy Palm Springs Restaurant Week, I made a list of all the sites I wanted to see while eating my way through the desert–Mirage was at the top. This house of mirrors created by Aitken was part of Desert X, an international art exhibition located in Palm Springs, California, now approaching its second year. Curated by artistic director Neville Wakefield, this site specific installation is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in the desert. This life-size kaleidoscope is sans inhabitants or objects, its purpose is to reflect the vast Western landscape of which it is surrounded. Absorbing every element within its view, Mirage's appearance shifts with every step in a different direction. While in the home I lost track of time as I was completely enveloped with every moving reflection, even my own.  

 
  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

When researching the installation I learned that the design was inspired by California Ranch Style homes, particularly those erected by Frank Lloyd Wright in the West. I was excited to learn this structure was a reflection of an architect who's work I continually study; made me love it even more.

Although Mirage is now permanently closed, Desert X is currently gearing up for the second edition of their much-praised exhibition, opening to the public next year. Once again, Desert X will transform the Palm Springs desert landscape through site-specific installations; I am beyond curious to see what artists the team has procured for 2019! This is something not to be missed. On view February 9 - April 21 2019.

 
  Inside   Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

Inside Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X

  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X
  Doug Aitken's Mirage–Desert X
Hospicio Cabañas

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Hospicio Cabañas

Comment Guadalajara, Mexico
  The Man on Fire, José Clemente Orozco

The Man on Fire, José Clemente Orozco


One of my life goals is to see as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as I possibly can and Mexico is home to the most in the Americas and seventh in the world. You can see a full list of their sites here, which surpasses both the United States of America and the UK if you were curious. Hospicio Cabañas marks my third World Heritage Site in Mexico, having already seen the jaw dropping pre-Hispanic city of Chichen-Itza in the Yucatán and the Historic Centre of Mexico City in DF. Both which are experiences I will never forget. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I saw Hospicio Cabañas (or Las Cabañas) on our Don Julio itinerary, as seeing José Clemente Orozco's mural's were imperative while in Guadalajara, and this is where his most famed are celebrated.

Although I briefly studied and created fine art before focusing on my undergraduate work in Women's Studies, it wasn't until 2016 when I dated a painter who really put me on to Orozco. I was familiar with the name but never had the opportunity to study the artist, another reflection of how Mexican geniuses are often excluded from the academic art canon. There are few positive things I can say about this painter I once called my boo but he did have an extensive collection of art books, of which I read often. One day when telling me of his past residency in Guadalajara, he began piling book after book in front of me, almost all of them focusing on the history and talents of José Clemente Orozco. I was blown away by his work while simultaneously disappointed no one ever pulled me aside and said, you should really know about this Natalie. It was at that moment I decided I needed to see much of Orozco I possibly could, but most importantly his frescoe depicting the allegory of The Man on Fire, located at Hospicio Cabañas.

 
  Living My Best Life at Hospicio Cabañas

Living My Best Life at Hospicio Cabañas

  Sculpture by  José Luis Cuevas

Sculpture by José Luis Cuevas


Here I was at Las Cabañas, living my best life as a Mexican American woman in Mexico. While on our tour of the property with one of the coolest docents I have ever met–he was 60+ and continually referenced Heavy Metal bands–I found myself standing under Orozco's mural with tears in my eyes. The Man on Fire was magnificent and of monumental proportions; it moved me in a way few others have done before. It was something I wanted to stare at for hours but we had a full day ahead of us. Orozco's fresco simply could not be summarized by adjectives. You must experience it with your own eyes. This epic mural should be taught and appreciated in schools much like Michelangelo's work at The Sistine Chapel; it's a masterpiece.

Hospicio Cabañas | Calle Cabañas 8, Las Fresas, 44360 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico

 
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Concept: Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas
Architect & Design: Manuel Tolsá and José Gutiérrez
Masterpiece Murals: José Clemente Orozco
World Heritage Site granted in 1997

Taller Paco Padilla

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Taller Paco Padilla

Comment Tlaquepaque, Mexico
  Ceramics by Paco Padilla Workshop

Ceramics by Paco Padilla Workshop


I love ceramics, particularly pieces that were conceptualized and made in Mexico, where the art form has been celebrated for thousands of years. Ceramic arts and pottery crafts pre-date the arrival of Europeans in Mesoamerica, yet another example of Mexican sophistication that has rightfully become a respected tradition. When I read on my Don Julio itinerary that we would be given a private tour of Taller Paco Padilla in Tlaquepaque I was over the moon. Although I was not originally familiar with this pueblo, upon my on-the-spot research I learned that this city was known for its artisan crafts and pottery. Before even stepping in the studio, I knew I would be coming home with some special objects and gifts for friends.

Only a brief twenty-five minute drive from Guadalajara, we made our way to Padilla's workshop in Tlaquepaque, where we would spend the day learning about the taller (workshop), witness artists at work, and paint our own calavera in celebration of Día de los Muertos, under the tutelage of Paco Padilla himself. Señor Padilla was a kind man who was also full of so much life! We spoke in Spanish about his life's work in Tlaquepaque and before we knew it, he grabbed a guitar and started singing to us. It was truly a magical afternoon to be in Mexico.

Taller Paco Padilla | Calle Prisciliano Sanchez 142, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco 45500

 
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Paco_Padilla_Ceramic_Mugs.jpg
  Kiln at Paco Padilla Ceramic Studio

Kiln at Paco Padilla Ceramic Studio

Paco_Padilla_Ceramic_Dog.jpg
PacoPadilla_CeramicBowls.jpg
PacoPadilla_Taller.jpg
Google Pixel 2 at The Broad

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Google Pixel 2 at The Broad

4 Comments Los Angeles, California
 Yayoi Kusama at The Broad, Pixel 2 Camera

This Christmas I was given the gift of the Google Pixel 2. An email landed in my inbox, asking if I'd like to participate in the Pixel holiday campaign and I did not hesitate to say yes, as I've become increasingly dissatisfied as an iPhone user. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to see if I could cross over because I've been feeling disgusted tied to a singular brand, and one that has admitted to slowing down its iOS, which pressures their consumers to purchase more. I've been a long time Apple & iPhone user but as their products continue to sky rocket in price while the quality of their devices plummets, I've found myself ready for something new.

I had no idea what to expect from the Google Pixel 2 aside from the superior camera I kept reading about. Because my work is heavily focused on photography and video, the quality of the camera was my biggest concern. With a 12-megapixel f/1.8 unit I was curious as to what kind of images I'd be able to capture. There was only one place to try this baby out so I headed to The Broad Museum to see the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit before it closed on January 1. As this exhibit was sold-out before it event opened to the public, I had to utilize my plug for a private escort into the show, and for that I am eternally grateful. Yayoi was not to be missed and it felt wild using a new phone to capture my experience.

My foray into the world of Google smartphones was both equal parts illuminating and frustrating. With my smartphone camera, I was able to capture high quality images with incredible sharpness and detail. Interesting Photo Sphere and panorama features not only impressed me but had all my friends playing with the device as well–and my friends are not easy to impress. There was a quality in color and image I hadn't experienced on my iPhone, I felt the Pixel pulling me in. As soon as I was about to get really intimate with my new phone it started to let me down, much like a third date with someone you were initially hyped on, only to feel deflated by their many revealed flaws. I wanted to send photos via Bluetooth to my computer & other phone for review. I cannot tell you how many times I attempted this, to no avail, before I gave up entirely. I looked online for solutions and tried them, read message boards, all that. From my research I learned I wasn't the only person with Bluetooth problems; it seems to be common in the Pixel 2 and as someone who relies on that feature a lot, I was really turned off. I then tried to email the photos to myself, which at first also didn't work. Again, I had to reset my settings, then only to be met with the biggest lag in email service I ever experienced. For a new phone just out the wrapper, I shouldn't have to be Googling troubleshooting tips. It was unacceptable.

I am still going to continue playing with my Pixel 2 but will begrudgingly remain an iPhone user. The Pixel 2 is now my on-the-go camera, while I use my other smartphone for emails, calls, everything else. I wanted to cross over, but if a new phone hands me that many hiccups off top, I cannot commit nor could I recommend you do the same. All of these bugs makes it feel like the Pixel 2 was rushed. Pixel 3? Just maybe. They're on to something and I'm curious. Until then, I'll be walking around with two phones because neither one of them works how I'd like them to.

The Broad | 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

 Yayoi Kusama at The Broad, Pixel 2 Camera Review
 
 Yayoi Kusama at The Broad, Pixel 2 Phone Review
 Yayoi Kusama at The Broad, Pixel 2 Camera
 Yayoi Kusama at The Broad, Pixel 2 Camera