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Los Angeles modern & Japanese pop art museums! The Broad LA contemporary, Deitch Gallery, Hajime Sorayama robots.

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Remember when we could go out freely, and visit art museums with friends? Those were the days… I’ll never take this simple joy for granted again!

I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying my ongoing stories of pre-pandemic travels. Let’s keep on reminiscing about sunnier times, as we go through this odd moment in history.

In January 2020, I arrived in Los Angeles with photographer Joey Wong. We spent a day getting inspired at The Broad Museum, a hip collection of contemporary art that includes phenomenal Japanese pop paintings.

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I also swung by the Jeffrey Deitch gallery to see “Tokyo Pop Underground.” This exhibition brought together eccentric works by Japanese artists including Hajime Sorayama — maestro of sexy robots, as you’ll see!

Both the Broad LA and Deitsch Gallery are free to the public. When they’re open again (post-COVID), I hope you’ll take the opportunity to experience them.

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I also wanted to share some “cheerio” news… I’m on the front page of Metro UK Newspaper, Travel section (May 4th edition)!

The United Kingdom’s highest-circulating paper interviewed me about my favorite insider Vancouver spots. I recommended the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese gardens, and Twin Peaks themed restaurant (read more about this Lynchian venue). Come visit once our borders open again.

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Now, let’s teleport back in time to LA. This fashion shoot with Joey Wong turned out to be my last one before the coronavirus locked me down.

Art museum outfit details: Sheer panel top by Goth boutique Creatures Montreal. Leather miniskirt Jeremy Scott. Polkadot head scarf Lola Ramona. Sunglasses Edwardson Eyewear. Bracelets Hermes and Bulgari.

I adore the space-age Gothic look of my Alexander McQueen mini bag.  See more skull purses by McQueen below:

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A close-up on my current favorite rings. The dream of the 1990s is alive on my fingers…

In love with my new black diamond and diamonds flower-power ring! The Cosmic Escape alien ring is by Alina Abegg. Find it here, and browse more of her aliens jewelry below.

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Before heading into The Broad for our reserved ticket time-slot, we snapped some photos next door at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

(Short polka dot skirt by Jeremy Scott, and leather platform ankle boots by Acne Studios.)

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Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall has a design that resembles a musical organ.

(Downtown LA has plenty of space-y architecture. We also went into the Bradbury / Blade Runner building; see photos here.)

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As an architecture buff, I simply had to stop by Disney Music Hall to admire Gehry’s curving, stainless steel panels. Poke around the exterior walkways, and you’ll find spaceship-like reflective walls that are perfect for fashion photography.

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I didn’t go inside the concert hall that day; it’s the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Master Chorale. When the doors can open again, I’d love to see a performance here.

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We walked back to The Broad, and took some shots against the minimalist-modern facade. Opened in 2015, the art museum immediately became a downtown LA landmark, thanks to its white honeycomb design.

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The veil-like exterior is cleverly designed to let sunlight into the museum.

Important note about tickets: While admission to The Broad Museum is free, you do have to reserve a time slot in advance, via their website. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance, as the spots can sell out. (There may also be an extra charge for some special exhibitions and events.)

You can alternately show up and stand in line, but you may end up waiting a long time, so I urge you to book a free reserved ticket online. (Parking is available in the garage, at a steep $17 US for 3 hours.)

The Broad museum, Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson monkey balloon animals

Founded by Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum collection has around 2000 contemporary art pieces by about 200 artists (from 1960 to today). The Broad’s interior is spacious, with tall ceilings and large white walls, forming the perfect setting for giant works.

Visitors can see quirky masterpieces by American artists like Jeff Koons. On the left is his Balloon Dog and Rabbit, and on the right is his Michael Jackson and Bubbles the monkey statue.

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American pop art and photography take center stage at the Broad. You’ll find stunning pieces by Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Above, I’m dwarfed by the “Blue Red” of Ellsworth Kelly.

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The works span a variety of sizes, styles, and media. Two of my favorites: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Gold Griot” (acrylic and oilstick on wood), in his signature Neo-Expressionist style. And Jeff Koons “Tulips,” a rainbow bouquet of mirrored stainless steel.

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I was glad to discover works by women of diverse backgrounds, at The Broad. I’m standing in front of unnerving silhouettes by Kara Walker, which capture the painful memories of slavery in the plantation-era South.

murakami cute bunny kawaii characters Kaikai Kiki art

The Broad contains more than just American pop art. Japan packs a “kawaii” punch with multiple works by Takashi Murakami. I smiled when I saw his characters Kaikai and Kiki, frolicking amidst smiley flowers.

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Staring down Murakami’s “Black Daruma.” The artist brings an anime sensibility to Japanese folklore — in this case, the lucky daruma doll based on Zen founder Bodhidharma.

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I’ve never seen skulls so cute or colorful. (You can see more of Takashi Murakami’s works here; I covered his exhibit in Vancouver.)

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For those who love dynamic contemporary art, LA’s The Broad museum is as good as it gets. Very happy I finally got to visit.

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LA has a good number of art galleries and museum that are free to the public at all times.

One of the most progressive art spaces is the Jeffrey Deitch, located in West Hollywood. The open, industrial gallery features rotating themed exhibits; I made it in time to see “Tokyo Pop Underground.”

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Is Hello Kitty art? Hell yes, if you ask me!

Deitch LA brought together works by 17 innovative Japanese artists, working from 1960 to today. The gallery was filled with subversive pop culture, with an emphasis on all things cute and freaky.

hajime sorayama robot women, gold sculpture

“You’re wondering who I am… Machine or mannequin… With parts made in Japan — (Secret, secret, I’ve got a secret).”

Although I was impressed by all the Japanese artists, I was floored to see the fabulous fem-bots of Hajime Sorayama!

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Love how the gallery displayed his feminized, biomechanoid robots. This looks like a scene from a science fiction movie… I was half-expecting one of the android ladies to burst through the glass.

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The cold, curvy robots are 100% heavy metal. Hail Hajime Sorayama. (Google his name to see more of his erotic robot works; they’re a trip.)

Keiichi Tanaami colorful pop japan paintings illustrations

Keiichi Tanaami’s laughing spider also caught my eye. In the back, his psychedelic collages are a mashup of geishas, monsters, spaceships…

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The Deitch LA puts together fascinating shows with themes like “All of Them Witches” and “Ai Weiwei Zodiac.” Til next time.

downtown la The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA entrance exterior

For more modernity, you can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown LA. (That is, once a certain virus is under control…)

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Such a simple outing — going to free museums in LA, and posing for photos — isn’t even a possibility right now. 2020 has made me realize to the bones that we should never put off doing the things we enjoy.

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Thanks to Joey Wong for the fab photography — hope we can shoot again soon, and get closer than 2 meters / 6 feet from each other!

(Close-up on my silver croco skull bag by Alexander McQueen. Browse more below):

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And a wave goodbye, with my go-to rings. The silver and peridot alien pinky ring is by Alina Abegg; get one here, and discover more of her space, planets and aliens designs below.

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Always looking ahead to a future filled with spaceships and stars. Take care of yourselves and keep dreaming, my friends.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted May 7, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Love these photos, vibe and everything!!1

    • Posted May 11, 2020 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      Can’t wait to have art adventures w you again soon!

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