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Mingei East and West at the Pacific Asia Museum

East Meets West: The Mingei Exhibit at the Pacific Asia Museum

The East and West have often been at conflict on the political stage. Even today, geo-political grandstanding mars the 2008 Summer Olympics in China as titans prove unwilling to give up an inch of their superpower. During the first half of the 20th century, the Pacific Rim was also a chessboard where the East and West fought for dominance. The exhibit Mingei East and West, however, evinces the power of art to transcend political borders.

In a century when Japanese Americans lived in internment camps, and Americans lost their lives at the hands of Kamikaze pilots, the exhibit illustrates a unity of spirit and respect between artists on opposite ends of the Pacific. Mingei East and West shows the positive impact of Mingei on the California Arts and Crafts movement as well as the American influence on Japanese Art. 

The term Mingei, coined in 1927 by Art Critic Yanagi Soetsu, refers to ”folk art,” a subtle revolt against the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution. The humble Mingei elevates the beauty of the practical and extols anonymous handcrafted objects. Yanagi classified the virtue of Mingei as its naturalness, plurality, selflessness, and functionality.

Mingei East and West depicts a lively interplay between Japanese and American artists. California artists incorporated Japanese design motifs including trees and fish. Utagawa Hiroshige’s Swaying Pine Trees from mid-ninteenth century Japan echoes through Frederick H.W Leuders Lantern with Pine Tree Motif from the University of Southern California’s Gamble House. Three Carp, a stained glass window from the 1920’s by Judson Studios mirrors Ohara Koson’s Catfish and Bee, a Japanese woodblock print on paper from the early 20th century. The California artists integrated key elements of the Japanese style: simple composition, organic line, and strong dark-light contrast.

A collection of Mingei and Post-War American ceramics further demonstrates the connection between cultures, the dynamic and fluid nature of cultural identity, and the reflection between Asia and the West. As noted by Pacific Asia Museum’s Executive Director Joan Marshall, the exhibit “is a testament to what you can do in a small space.” Through key pieces in a small setting, one can see the cohesive kinship between the artists of two great empires.

While in the space, do not forget to look up.

Fifteenth-century wood panels from a Buddhist temple float suspended from the ceiling. These panels feature Kannon, a compassionate bodhisattva, an enlightened being who helps others achieve awareness. The peaceful courtyard garden, the rhythmic murmuring pond, and Kannon, our lucid guide, all make the Pacific Asia Museum an ideal spot for an artistic pilgrimage. 

June 6, 2008 through January 6, 2009

Pacific Asia Museum 46 North Los Robles Avenue Pasadena, CA, 91101. 626.449.2742.

Hours: Wed – Sun: 10:00am-6:00pm

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This Weekend in LA: Cultural Events June 14-17

Mingei East and West

Art Critic Yanagi Soetsu invented the term “Mingei” which means “folk art” to advocate art which is natural, traditional, functional, simple, and selfless. The beauty of this new exhibit is that it explores the connection and mutual influence of Japanese art and the California Arts and Crafts movement.

June 6, 2008 through January 6, 2009

Pacific Asia Museum 46 North Los Robles Avenue Pasadena, CA, 91101. 626.449.2742.

Hours: Wed – Sun: 10:00am-6:00pm

Sake bottle (tokurri), motif by Shoji Hamada,

Japan, early 20th century, Photo By Julian Bermudez

 For more information, please visit:

The Poetry of Paper by Yoshio Ikezaki

Ikezaki’s work is indeed poetic, evocative, and ethereal. His sculptures, paper collages, and Sumi Ink Paintings conjure literal landscapes as well as the more metaphysical landscape of the human mind and imagination. Like the poet John Keats, you may ask yourself, “Do I wake, or do I sleep?” Once you feast your eyes on Ikezaki’s creations, you will step into the realm of gathered dreams.

Curated by Homeira Goldstein

Exhibition Dates: June 11, 2008- July 24, 2008

Manhattan Beach Art Center. 1560 Manhattan Beach Boulevard. Manhattan Beach,CA, (310) 802-5440

Gallery hours: Tuesday: 2-6PM; Wed: 4-8 PM Thu: 2-6 PM Sat: 1-5 PM; Closed Sun, Mon, & Fri


Sculpture:The Earth Breathes; Paper Collage: Gathered Dreams
Sumi Ink Painting:Timeless Auras





Schoenberg Hall, UCLA – Free Admission

The foundation gives away the largest cash prizes in the world to first place winners for solo piano and voice.

Mon/Tues. June 16/17 10-5 piano; 7-10:30 voice
Wed. June 18 10-5 piano; 6-10:30 voice Semi-F
Thur. June 19 10-5 piano Semi-Final
Fri. June 20 7-11 Voice Final
Sat. June 21 1:30-5 & 7-10:30 Piano Final

For more information, visit:


True vs. Colored Sculpture:

A Nineteenth-Century Debate about the Renaissance 

Sat. June 14: 3:00 p.m.

Art historian Bruce Boucher explores the 19th century debate about the use of color on sculpture, a technique widely practiced from Antiquity through the Renaissance.

. Getty Villa. 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California

Admission: Free; a ticket is required

Call (310) 440-7300 or use the “Get Tickets” button below.


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This Weekend in LA: Cultural Events June 7-8

La RondineLA Opera







Saturday June 7, 7:30 P.M.

Puccini’s lesser- known La Rondine contains beautiful pieces including: “Chi il bel sogno di Doretto,” and “Ma come puoi lasciarmi.”

“La Rondine,” the swallow, revolves around the love between a free-spirited courtesan, Magda, and her beloved Ruggero. Can she escape the chains of her past, or like a swallow, will she be forced to return to her life as a kept woman?  Go see the opera and find out!

Patricia Racette as Magda and Marcus Haddock as Ruggero.

Keri-Lynn Wilson conducts.

Marta Domingo directs.

 Huntington Art Gallery

Summer hours:  10:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

 Walk through the home of Henry Huntington and his wife Arabella. The Huntington Art Gallery opened this month after a $20 million facelift.  The collection of European art includes objects from the 15th to 20th centuries. The Huntington. 1151 Oxford Road. San Marino, CA, 91108. 626.405.2100



The Diary of Anne Frank: Long Beach Opera

Sunday June 8, 4:00 P.M. The LA Times calls soprano Ani Maldjian a “technical and emotional Tour de Force.” Russian composer Grigori Frid translated Anne Frank’s story into an opera-monodrama in four scenes for soprano and chamber orchestra, consisting of 21 episodes.

 If you are wondering how the tragedy of Anne Frank’s life could be made into an opera, consider this quotation from her diary:“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” 

Long Beach Opera. 507 Pacific Ave. Long Beach CA 90802 . Tickets are selling out quickly, so call 562.432.5934 ASAP to see if any have become available. For more information please visit:


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A bright candle for Peace



Picasso, Dove of Peace, 1949



Pippa Bacca, an Italian performance artist on a mission to promote peace and cultural understanding was murdered during her journey last spring.

Peace is one of the highest goals of art. May Pippa’s idealistic spirit always be remembered as well as her desire to bridge cultures. She did not see geographic boundaries as limiting; she saw the whole world as her home. As Roman author Gaius noted almost two thousand years ago, “Home is where the heart is.” Home is not simply our residence, our state, nor even our country.

Home is a place where we can all live together in peace.

For the full story read:,0,6381255.story

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Step Away from the Lamb: Guards mean business at BCAM

 Step away from the Lamb and no one gets hurt!”

“There will be no Hirst Heist today, buddy.”

The LA Times reports that pistol-carrying guards protect Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock at BCAM.

Realistic preventative measure?

Or disruption to the artistic experience?

It’s up to you to decide.

For the full story read:,0,5511934.story

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This Weekend in LA: Cultural Events May 30- June 1

Fridays Off The 405

Friday, May 30, 6:00–9:00 p.m. Free admission; no reservations required. Free live music, gallery tours, California video screenings, cash bar, and more.

Getty Center Museum Courtyard 

1200 Getty Center Drive, LA, CA 90049. 310. 440.7300.



Salonen’s Piano Concerto

Fri. May 30 8:00 P.M

Sat May 31 8:00 P.M 

Sunday June 1, 2:00 P.M. 

LA Philharmonic: Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Yefim Bronfam, piano

 Debussy: Selected Preludes; Salonen: Piano Concerto (West Coast premiere)

 Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA 323.850.2000

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring

Fri. May 30 8:00 P.M

Sat May 31: 8:00 P.M

Schnittke: Not a Midsummer Night’s Dream;

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; Stravinsky: Rite of Spring

Orange County Performing Arts Center

600 Town Center Dr.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626 714.556.ARTS.


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Memorial Day Free at LACMA!


LACMA is hosting Monumental Monday replete with live music, entertainment, and hands-on art workshops.

Free admission from 12-8p.m.

Swing to the sounds of Art Deco and His Society Orchestra. Create your own art with artists Ismael de Anda and Eszter Delgado.

Performance and art workshops from 12:30-4:00 p.m

Forget the beach- take the whole family LACMA this Memorial Day!

For more information visit,


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Cultural Events This Weekend in LA: May 23-25

Colburn Dance Recital: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  Zipper Hall.

Friday 7p.m. Dance Institute. Professional Training Spring Concert.

Saturday 7:30 p.m.Spring Showcase.

Sunday 3:00 p.m. Tap and Folklorico Showcase.

Free admission, but reserved tickets required. Call 213 621-1050 

Colburn School. 200 South Grand Avenue LA, CA, 90012





 Pacific Asia Museum“Chinamen’s Chance: View of the Chinese American Experience.”

Three contemporary artists, Zhi Lin, Arthur Ou, and Amanda Ross-Ho, illustrate diverse Chinese American experiences from the days of the Transcontinental Railroad’s construction to the present. Pacific Asia Museum 46 North Los Robles Avenue Pasadena, CA, 91101. 626.449.2742. For more information visit:



Check out BCAM- the Broad Contemporary Art Museum- one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world.

 Saturday May 24:

4:00 P.M Tour of BCAM: Art Chats at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum.

 5:00 P.M Jazz All Star Concert. Dorothy Collins Brown Amphitheater at LACMA. Concert Free. No Reservations Required.

 Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 5905 Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA, 90036. 323. 857.6000


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During the best of times and the worst of times, we must always remember that Hope was the last spirit in Pandora’s Box; she captured it just in time as a last refuge for humanity.

“Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house, 

she remained under the lip of the jar, 

and did not fly away.”- Hesiod

Here is Pandora and the eternal possibility of Hope.


Pandora. John William Waterhouse. 1896. Oil on Canvas. Private Collection 

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Review: Camerata Pacifica at the Huntington, May 20th

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,

How can we tell the dancer from the dance?

William Butler Yeats, Among School Children

    Ludwig Van Beethoven called music “the electric soul in which the spirit lives.” The supremely talented Camerata Pacifica filled Friends’ Hall at the Huntington with explosive electricity on Tuesday night. Pianist Warren Jones, violist Richard O’Neill, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and violinist Catherine Leonard all gave riveting performances. The four virtuosos combined in Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-Flat major, Op. 47, laced together tightly through shades of melancholy and jubilee.

     Cellist Ani Aznavoorian shone in Grieg’s Sonata for Piano and Cello in A Minor, Op. 36, her face, body, and instrument one. Aznavoorian held the cello as tenderly as Michelangelo’s Pieta, eliciting an intense palette of tones: haunting, passionate, playful, transcendent. How can we tell the dancer from the dance? In Ms. Aznavoorian’s we do not; the music and musician are one being, one entity, one spirit, in a divinely inspired performance. 

 Divine Inspiration

 Guido Reni, Saint Cecilia, 1606,

 Norton Simon Museum of Art

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