Need a meet cute? Head to Lacma

Lacma's Chris Burden installation Urban Light is already a popular meeting spot
Calling all affable art lovers: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) wants you. On 27 January, the museum is launching a new membership programme, Lacma Local, which grants access to bi-weekly Saturday events that combine art and socialising. Possible activities include creating a work of art in small groups after visiting an exhibition or sitting in silence to watch the sun rise over Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass.

“Almost all of the events will involve Locals, as we are calling them, dividing into groups of about 8-12 people to do things together,” says Kristen Shepherd, the museum’s associate vice president of audience strategy and services, who is spearheading the initiative. “We think that’s a good group size to encourage conversation and allow people to get acquainted.”

Lacma superfans looking to meet like-minded souls can buy a yearlong membership to Lacma Local for $40. (It costs an additional $25 to add Lacma Local to an existing, standard $60 membership.) Additional fees may apply depending on the week’s activity.

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Mark Wallinger: ‘Facing up to myself’

Mark Wallinger

One of the most inventive and unpredictably nimble artists working in Britain today, Mark Wallinger’s art has ranged from meticulous paintings of racehorses to a presentation of the first public statue of Jesus Christ in England since the Reformation. While Wallinger’s early focus was on British traditions and values, from the 1990s onwards his interests have shifted to a wider questioning of power structures and notions of identity that has spanned photographs, videos and installations—as well as a live performance dressed in a bear suit. He can be simultaneously witty and politically incisive: when he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2001 he hung a Union Jack flag remade in the green, white and orange of the tricolour, the flag of the Republic of Ireland, outside the British pavilion.

For his debut show at Hauser & Wirth in London, Wallinger is living up to his reputation as an artist who never repeats himself, with a multimedia exhibition of mostly new work that includes a dramatic painterly departure.

The Art Newspaper: Your new series of monochrome id Paintings are made by applying paint directly to the canvas using your hands, and seem to underpin this show. Are they related to the previous Self Portrait canvases depicting a single black letter “I” in different typefaces?

Mark Wallinger: They grew out of the I paintings in quite a nice, organic way. Last year I moved into this very tall, top-lit new studio and I suppose in a rather Darwinian way I thought, well, let’s order some canvases and take the Self Portrait I paintings up to a sort of Abstract Expressionist scale, and see how that goes.

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There’s a more knowing self-examination in the Ego photo piece of your Michelangelo-esque right and left hands.

That’s been on my kitchen wall for a year or so. I like it because it’s knowing about a bunch of things I find interesting. I suppose the notion of the creator or the creative artist and all the rest of it is rather a hubristic thing to begin with, isn’t it? But then I thought, well, it’s a right hand and a left hand so I can do that myself and then it really is like the limits of one’s own existence. I often talk about when you go to the opticians for an eye test and you’re getting down to the bottom line—literally—and you’re asked, “Is this lens better than this one?” And you can’t phone a friend, you are just thrown back on your own senses and there’s really no one but you to consult. In a sense those are the limits to all one’s beliefs about the outside world—and sometimes you do feel alienated from your own body.

On a basic level, you are extending out and up as far as you can with the id Paintings and then reaching inwards with Ego.

Yes, and it’s a bit Vitruvian Man as well, so it’s both Michelangelo and Leonardo. And these [he holds out his hands] are the tools of the trade.  

Superego, the rotating, reflective New Scotland Yard Sign has connotations of seeing and being seen at a time when we have never before been so scrutinised but also so anonymous and depersonalised.

You could say that it’s a very knowing piece in terms of its source and in terms of surveillance society and all those tropes that we are familiar with, but actually I think just physically this revolving mirror, which mirrors something above our access to that reflection [the work rotates above eye level], suggests further horizons. I’m hoping that it will give us an almost physical ache about something that’s inaccessible yet which somehow seems to exert a degree of control.

I was thinking of lighthouses: they are multi-mirrored things that send the light out as far as possible. In a sense, this is a reverse of that: it suggests something both repellent and enticing about the kind of scrutiny that’s given justification because people’s security is the first responsibility of government, and all the rest of it.

Two years ago you made the move to Hauser & Wirth after being represented by Anthony Reynolds since the mid 1980s. Is it a very different experience working with such a big, international gallery?

For various reasons I had to move on and Hauser & Wirth have been fantastic to work with. It’s a very close, thorough and supportive working relationship, which has given me absolute freedom to make exactly what I want for this show.

• Mark Wallinger: ID, Hauser & Wirth, London, 26 February-6 May

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