Writings about California, Art and Parenting

Megan Whitmarsh: “Arts & Leisure Section” @ Los Angeles Municipal Gallery

I sat there in the floor while my friend read the “paper,” also made into a soft thing, its columns devoted to suggestions on slowing down written by others: “turn your phone into a seashell and listen to the ocean,” for example. Or “Hear God.“ So I was surprised when I heard the very digital video game like soundtracks behind the female meditative voice – offered over headphones, as a part of the experience. This upended my first thought about femininity – reminding me – with its intimidating building block like structure, a linear robot melody; the melody of a pixelated robot, of the foremost message of first wave feminism that is still true today: everything is constructed.

The piece was a part of a larger show called “Loitering is Delightful,” including a Lani Trock’s delightful ceiling full of bougevvilla branches, floating, chandelier-like, above the audience. While laying on our backs on mats on the floor, we could act as if we were a baby looking up at a mobile from inside a crib, staring, with wonderment, of how things drift and move, sometimes drastically, with only the slightest bit of wind. The whole exhibit offered a childlike yet sophisticated view of the world; asking us to remember an innocence that leads to observation and reflection. And also, perhaps, some simple pleasures.

Image: Megan Whitmarsh, “Arts & Leisure Section,” 2019. Embroidery thread, cotton, canvas, polyester, wood, foam objects, headphones, sound. Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Photograph by Jeff McLane

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