#history, #museum 7|16|2011

Photo: The Dodge House. Credit: latimes.com


The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman visits the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. Kimmelman writes: Devised like most true collections from somebody’s crazy obsession, the Mütter dressed up good old ghoulish midway spectacle in the guise of civil service and medical instruction.


Diane Haithman is interviewing L.A. art museum guards on The Times’ Culture Monster.

This is what Kimberly Strain of MOCA says about her favorite work: “Wish You Were Here.” “It’s a beautiful pastel painting across a very wide wall — it’s people at a party, and they’re dancing, and everybody’s eyes are closed and they’re just having such a good time. And they are African American — well, not African American, but they’re black — and it shows how we actually are, not just the thin, model types. It’s the folks that look like me, with the bulges and the dimples and everything.”

And here’s what LACMA’s Hylan Booker has to say.


Writing in The Times, Jeffrey Head looks at the Dodge House in West Hollywood, a home designed by Irving Gill in 1914 that was demolished in 1970.

Head writes: The graceful arches, the ahead-of-its-time mahogany paneling, the coved walls that prevented dust from collecting in corners, the stunningly beautiful sense of simplicity — they’re are gone. Beyond the vintage photography of Marvin Rand, all that’s left is an appreciation of Gill’s genius and the Dodge House’s cautionary tale.


The Huntington has audio of
historian Matthew Roth on L.A.’s “Concrete Utopia.”Take the time to listen to this lecture. Roth makes the point that no freeway was built in Los Angeles without a tremendous fight and strong public opposition. It’s available on iTunes, along with other lectures at Huntington.


Edward Rothstein reviews the Skyscraper Museum (in the Empire State Building, of course) for the New York Times.

It is safe to say that visitors to the Empire State Building don’t really come to see the building. They come to see the city around it. This show, whose curator is Carol Willis, the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum, redirects attention from what the building lets us see, to what we see in the building, which is considerable. On its opening on May 1, 1931, we are told, the Empire State “had broken every record in the book in terms of both size and speed of construction.”


In Wealth Matters in the New York Times, Paul Sullivan takes a fascinating look at the market for sports memorabilia.

Sullivan writes: Chances are pretty good that the sports memorabilia most people have is not worth much. All the balls, bats and pictures being sold at retail stores and online to commemorate Derek Jeter’s milestone fit into that category.


The theft of a street sign commemorating the birthplace of Scrabble raises questions about who installed it.
Sydney Ember has the story in the New York Times.

The New York Times FYI answers questions about the history of a park in Brooklyn — and why rats aren’t electrocuted by the third rail.

During a panel at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, Kelefa Sanneh says he worries about “the day when hip-hop becomes like jazz, when you go to ‘hip-hop at Lincoln Center,’ and … when school kids take classes called ‘kicking positive rhymes.’ ” Jennifer Parker in the Stoop.

On display: Ferraris and Playboy Playmates in the Wall Street Journal. 


Inspired by the Foxfire series, students at Groveton High School in Fairfax County, Va., conducted a series of oral histories in 1975.

Here’s an extract from the Lew Quander family interview:

My grandfather built a two-room shack. And he wasn’t married and he built the shack and he was a slave. From there he got married and raised six kids. That was Henry Quander. He bought land for fifty cents an acre. He raised six kids and they helped him on the farm. He went from the farm all the way over to Spring Bank Inn. My father and his sons were hard working farmers. All they did was farm. Dairy farm. Pig farm. Hustler farm. Vegetable farm. Yes sir, they were hustlers. Shoot, what you talking about? They raised everything. Carried food to the market and sold it.

These are now online.


The Anacostia Community Museum in Washington will attempt “the largest Ring Shout ever recorded” during its “All Things Gullah” presentation on July 23.


Willard Spiegelman writes about the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” in the Wall Street Journal.


Dan Levin, writing in The Times, looks at efforts to preserve Jewish history in Shanghai.

He says: If the Nazis failed to wipe out these Jewish lives, China’s Communist Party succeeded in erasing their deaths. In 1958, the government relocated all foreign graves to one international cemetery, which was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, when locals plundered the gravestones to use in construction. Although the Jewish bones are irrevocably lost, Bar-Gal, a blunt, balding man who left behind a job covering the chaos of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to devote himself to documenting Shanghai’s Jewish history, refuses to allow the elaborately carved markers to be consigned to the trash heap.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Art & Artists, History, Museums and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #history, #museum 7|16|2011

  1. eve says:

    We went on a field trip to the Mutter in my 8th-grade science class! I will never forget–no matter how hard I try–the shelves of deformed fetus jars, or The Big Wall of Eye Diseases.


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