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MOCA Sunday Studio Review - An Open Invitation to the Open Studio Event

By Suzann Arkette

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Enjoy Art and the Museum setting in another way, Sunday Studio at LA’s MOCA. Complimentary fun for the inspired you, and bring the family if you wish – because once a month, the staff and volunteers at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles host Sunday Studio, so leave your reservations at home – they are not required.


This free event invites the young, the ever young and all in between to turn the focus on a featured artist or artwork on exhibit that day at MOCA and find inspiration, while considering the concepts, materials and techniques of the featured works. We are then invited by Sunday Studio to use that inspiration as a starting point in our own creative endeavor, in a temporary Studio area set up for the event. The open afternoon event sees visitors coming and going over the course of about three hours, and I joined in on the September Sunday Studio event. My experience started with a 15 minute tour highlighting the work of the featured artist, the renowned painter Mark Rothko, before my group moving outside to the art tables set up in Sculpture Plaza. I jumped on one of the many tours offered during Sunday Studio, joining a young family and one of the guides who work with MOCA as Art Educators.


Together we stood for a quiet moment in front of Rothko’s ‘No. 12’, a 10 foot tall painting featuring the layers of paint which give simple shape to two hazy rectangles, on a not so simple mix of dark reds. It was painted in 1960, when Rothko was 57 and living in New York City. How did such a famous painting come to live in LA? It moved with an incredible collection purchased by MOCA in 1984, on display through January 14, 2013. The collection, known as The Panza Collection, is shown in near entirety alongside a star studded group of pieces given to MOCA over years by some of the greatest and most generous art collectors inLos Angeles.


As we stood in front of the huge ‘No.12’, we gave ourselves a moment to observe the colors and shapes, watching space and layers, the dark colors and lighter colors. The moment spent made an powerful impression, and we ran with it to Sunday Studio outside under the exploding metal bloom of sculpture- titled ‘Chas’ Stainless Steel, Mark Thompson’s Airplane Parts’ by Nancy Rubins in Sculpture Plaza. When you see it, you’ll know you are in the right spot for Sunday Studio – and it was there we were welcomed again by smiles; friendly MOCA staff inviting us to enjoy the Color Lab inspired by Rothko. We picked materials from the Color Buffet laid out for us, where a wild array of color and material sat on the tables: paper, tissue, cellophane, pastel, chalk, tapes, glue and cardstock were set out on folding tables under tents, where groups of adults and families had taken their places alongside couples and adventurers who had arrived on their own. Before settling in at our own work tables we visited demonstration tables where color experiments were underway, we watched the mixing of materials, textures and color which excited us to try it on our own. Everyone present became busy creating; some had created cloudy pastel drawings very inspired by Rothko, while others ran in entirely different directions, creating collages, weaving paper and making kaleidoscopes.


Great fun and great thanks to MOCA.


Sunday Studio usually falls on the first Sunday of the month at the MOCA Grand in downtown Los Angeles – please check with the MOCA at 213-621-1745 or email  [email protected]  to be sure. The next event is scheduled at 12.30pm on Sunday, October 7, 2012. Rain or Shine. 

Published on Oct 02, 2012

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