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Painted Brain | My Latest Lacma Experience
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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  • May 28, 2016

My Latest LACMA Experience

By Raffi “Ricky” Rivetes

Los Angeles, CA—

This is  a written report  for the Painted Brain. 

So  far  today was great fun, a fascinating and interesting day. I  awoke  at  a  certain time, I  left home  at  twelve-thirty pm  because  I  was going to meet  some  people between one and two pm  at  the Los  Angeles  County Museum of  Art.

Today was  a clear pretty Friday afternoon not  very hot nor very cold  beautiful  blue sky with a few clouds.  The day before I  thought it was  going to  be cold  windy and  rainy like it  was last Friday but  it  does not hurt  being  wrong sometimes.  I waited  and got on the bus it  takes only one  bus  ride to get to  LACMA and when I got there I searched for someone that I  know,  hoping that  I would find  familiar faces. I looked  around  for a few minutes  until  Sergio and  I found each other then we went to sit down on  the bench, and I  began to  wonder about all  the flashbacks that came back to me  at  once.  I  have  history at  the  museum.  I  have  been visiting  LACMA since  childhood, and I am reporting  and  documenting my experience, about what  I’ve learned  today  on my  latest  visit to  LACMA.

My  earliest visit  to  the art museum  was as a  boy,  still  in elementary  school  (which was  not very  long ago at all)  but  back then I did not  go  by choice,  and by that I mean of my  own free will.  Back  then,  I thought that art  museums were dull  odd weird  and boring as  hell.  I had no  interest  in it at  that time.  I did  not appreciate art  as  a kid  unless  it was something I  did myself  but  I will  never  forget  my  early  introduction  to  the  world  of  art.  I  had  to  go  on school  field trips  in  those  days, I  felt forced  and  obligated  to  go,  but  now  I  feel  and  see  that  I  was  fortunate, that  I  had  a  teacher  who  planted  the  seeds  in me, of  the  love of  art.  I  will  also   remember  how  the  love of  art  was  born in me  and  how it  developed and  grew as time  went  on  and  I got  older.  It wasn’t until I became  a  teenager  that I  started  being seriously  into  art  I started  visiting art museums because art  was  no longer boring  and  bogus to me anymore.  Every  time  I  visit a  museum,  I  try  to  remember  the  times  I  visited  before  and what art  collection  I  went  to  see.  LACMA  was the first  art museum  I  ever  visited, it  was  my  first introduction  to  all  kinds  of  art. I  have seen so  many exhibits that I  can’t  even remember  all of them,  but  I can remember a few,  like the King  Tut  exhibit.  However,  the museum  complex  has  changed  beyond  recognition in the last  thirteen years. The spot where I  was sitting  with  Sergio  waiting  for the  others to show  up did  not even  exist  back then. The  Levitt  Pavilion is  new and so  is the court yard  (and  the  light  poles, too).  I remember  when  all of  this  was  being constructed between the older LACMA buildings and the old  May  Company  building.  I’ve  learned that LACMA was  established  and  opened  to the public in the spring of 1965. The Japanese Pavilion  was built  and first  opened  to the public in the fall of 1988   .Sergio and I  waited  for almost  an  hour  for the other people we  know to show  up. In the  process,  I  got  bored  so I  took my  camera, a  digital  Canon,  and  went to take pictures  of  the  statues  and  the  garden. The  statues were  made  by  a  French man  named    Auguste Rodin. He was  born in  the  second quarter  of  the nineteenth  century and he  died in the  early  twentieth century. He was  a Victorian era artist.

When I  finished  taking  pictures of  his work and of  the  garden, I checked to see  what time it was.  I  had lost  track  of  time. I went  back  to  where I’d been sitting and  waiting and  to  my  surprised everyone Sergio and I  had been waiting for  where  already  there   I  was so glad  that  I found them  just  in  time, and  I thanked  them  for  waiting for me.  We  all  got in line for  tickets  and when  my  turn came Dave  paid for  my  ticket. I thanked  him and  told  him   that I  will  always  remember  his generosity. I guess it  was  my  lucky  day, too  short to  enjoy  the  entire  museum  but  I  enjoyed  those  two  short  hours.  I  took  pictures of  some  art  pieces and  learned  as much  as could  about them. I  studied  Pacific  Oceanic art  some ceramics from  Papua New  Guinea    made  mostly  of  wood back in  the nineteenth  century.  Next I  went  to  the  Japanese  Pavilion.  Inside  they  have  wood block prints and  water  color paintings that  are  very  beautiful  to  look at. There  are  feudal  lords  and ladies   ,Zen Buddhist  priests,  shoguns, the Emperor,  also  samurai warriors. Other  pictures are done on paper  made  from  bamboo.  All  of these prints  date from  the  sixteenth or seventeenth century  to  the  third  quarter of  the nineteenth century.

The  reason  I did not  take  more pictures  with my  camera was  because  it  needed  time to  recharge.  Time  flew  by really fast,  damn,  I  couldn’t  really believe  it was five pm,  I checked  the time  in  my  cell  phone just  in  time.  Then I  had  to  go back  and  reunite with my friends so   I went back  to  where we  were  sitting  to  say  good  bye and  go home.  We said  our  good  byes  to each other and  everyone went  their separate  ways.  I  stayed at LACMA for at least  two more  hours.   I  checked out  the gift  shop  and while I was there   I  read  a  few  books    and  checked out  some  postcards.  I  took  a  long  look  at  what they  sell there  until   I came  across  a  journal  called  Museum  Guided  Art  Journal. I  checked  the  price and  I  bought  it. Once   I was  out  of  the  store  I  looked  at  the time  and damn, it was  ten  minutes  past  seven pm,  almost  seven-fifteen,  so  I  left  for  the  bus stop,  waited  for  the bus,  ready  to  go  home.

Raffi Rivetes has been a member of Painted Brain for many years, and many of his photographs appear here in Painted Brain News.

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