Water Exhibitions Are Drought of Social Consciousness

I’ve been a long standing member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) for years, and have contributed time and money to each institution.  Recently I received mail from the museums asking for donations.  I realized that both LACMA and MoCA will be having exhibitions that focuses on water.  Now, I’m a bit stumped since California is experiencing a severe drought that’s affecting people’s lives.

current_ca_trdThese exhibitions were probably planned out for months — but didn’t Governor Brown declare a state of emergency last January of this year?  Which, made me wonder, do these institutions, who are supported by the wealthy (only by the wealthy?), feel entitled to use such a valuable resource because it’s “art” ?

What of the concept of saving water? Or the concept of being socially conscious? Imagine how much water was used to even create these exhibitions, and how much water will need to be used to keep up these installations.  Even if it’s recycled water, what of all the plant life that could benefit? Or does that even matter?

Fountains across California have gone dry.  I see many neighborhoods conserving water by replacing lawns with stone or letting it go brown. They have emptied their swimming pools, and kids aren’t splashing around with the hose. Why? All to save water. They are at least trying to do something.


Rumors are that we’ll have another El Nino this winter — weren’t we supposed to have an El Nino last winter? That never happened.  And even if there is some rain, that won’t be enough to end the drought.

So, what’s up with our Los Angeles museums?  Are they that out of touch of what’s going on in our state?

“But it’s art!”  I love it when art makes a statement.  But considering the dire situation the state of California is in, these museums are taking the Marie Antoniette attitude of “let them eat cake.”

I’ve always been an advocate for the arts, a true art enthusiast — and I’ve been a fan of Matthew Barney’s for years – but these exhibitions seem to me to be really inconsiderate to the community as a whole.  It is rather shameful, actually.

Matthew Barney: River of Fundament opens September 13 through January 18, 2016 at MoCA Geffen, which includes massive “water castings” — that’s FOUR MONTHS worth of water, which you have to pay to see.

Rain Room opens at BCAM (at LACMA) on November 1 and runs through March 6, 2016. FIVE months worth of water, which of course you also have to pay to see.

I’m sure these exhibitions will be stunning, but the timing to be exhibited in Los Angeles is way off.


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