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Saturday, 09 February 2013

LOS ANGELES: "Caravaggio and His Legacy" closes this SUNDAY at LACMA

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Ecce Homo, 1605, Musei de Strada Nuova, Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, Italy, photo © Musei di Strada Nuova

Dear Diane, Dear Shaded Viewers,

Most of you know that Caravaggio is widely regarded as the original "bad boy"artist. He was not only one of the most influential and controversial painters in Europe circa 1600, he was also known for his drinking and bad temper. (He was also an avid tennis player...more on that below). As we view his works, we are not usually presented a pretty or pleasant picture. Its more often we are coming into and upon an event mid way through in a very cinematic or stolen moment. We feel his darkness, sensitivity, anger, and emotion. Caravaggio's creative influence hundreds of years later, in almost every form of art and media, is unparalleled. Director Martin Scorsese has often mentioned Caravaggio's influence on his work (click HERE for an interview with the director).

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio The Toothpuller, circa 1608-09; oil on canvas. (Galleria Palatina)

Fans from the art, fashion, and entertainment worlds who paid their respects in person to Mr. Caravaggio while on display at LACMA include artists Bill Viola, Cathy Opie, Rosson Crow, Ed Moses, and David LaChapelle as well as fashion designers Flavie and Clayton Webster of Cerre who have noted his influences in their collections. Several actors and actresses had private tours of the exhibition, including Sharon Stone.


Clayton and Flavie Webster of Cerre attend Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy Opening Party, Nov. 7, 2012, photo by Zach Lipp © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA.

The is is the LAST weekend to see "Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy," the stunning and historical show in Los Angeles at LACMA curated by the brilliant J. Patrice Marandel. $20 gets you into "Caravaggio," "Stanley Kubrick," and the entire museum. Members see all for free. The multimedia tour of the exhibition is an additional $6 well spent dollars.

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy, photo by Zach Lipp © 2012 Museum Associates/LACMA.

The exhibition was developed in the context of FRAME (French American Museum Exchange), of which LACMA is a member, and over 60% of the works in the exhibition are from the FRAME network. After LA, an edited version of the exhibition opens in March at FRAME member museum the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT.

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BACK ROW: Franklin Sirmans, Ed Schad, Claude Collins-Stracensky, Patrick Vallaincourt, Dashiell Manley. 4TH ROW: to BACK:Vince Szarek, Henry Vincent, Jim Deutch, Friedrich Kunath,Stas Orlovski, Shana Lutker, Gerard O'Brien, Dan Cameron, Andy Moses, David Erikson. 3RD ROW: Jason Yates, Charlotte Eyerman, Amanda Hunt, Brian Moss, Charles Gaines, Jonmarc Edwards, David Buckingham, Jolie Godoy, Owen Kydd, Lucas Blalock, Lita Albuquerque, Jessica Trent. 2ND ROW: Angel Chen, Mary Anna Pomonis, Jody Zellen, Shamim Momin. FRONT ROW: Nikhil Murthy, Justin Stadel, Drew Heitzler, Gustavo Godoy, Karl Haendel. Photo: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.

Caravaggio was an avid tennis player with a violent streak. An early published notice from 1604 reported: "after a fortnight's work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him." Just before the holidays, FRAME hosted a lively cocktail benefit and "tennis duels" to raise funds and awareness for the Caravaggio exhibition.

FRAME North American Director Charlotte Eyerman with artist/ tennis champ Friedrich Kunath.  Photo: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.

Held at the historic Los Angeles Tennis Club in Hancock Park where Fred Perry and John McEnroe were once crowned, the benefit's focal point was an atypical tennis tournament with over thirty contemporary artists, curators, gallerists, and critics.


David Buckingham's tennis style. Photo: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.

The matches were sponsored by Christian and Sutton Stracke, who were also on the host committee alongside Cameron Silver from Decades, Eliza Osborne of Sotheby's, Amanda & Sebastian Shore, L&M gallerist Sarah Watson, and attorney David Erikson (who was also the match director).

Co-host Eliza Osborne of Sotheby's and Paul Ruehl.

March LA.B designer Jerome Mage and Publicist/Ball Girl Jessica Trent (wearing an Edith Palm turban). Photo by Phil Tarley.


Andy Moses, LACMA's Franklin Sirmans, and Charles Gaines.

The weather was clear all evening until the finals, when a light rain lasted throughout the final match providing a sense of drama. Second place went to the team of Franklin Sirmans (Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA) and artist Charles Gaines. The FRAME Caravaggio tennis duel champions were artist Friedrich Kunath and gallerist Gerard O'Brien.  


No swords, just rackets. The finals. Photo: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.

FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange), a non-profit organization, is a consortium of 26 museums in France and North America that promotes cultural exchange via museum collaborations. FRAME has offices in Paris and Los Angeles and fosters partnerships among its member museums to develop innovative exhibitions, educational and public programs, and professional exchanges. For more information visit:

Event co-host/match director David Erikson with Sarah McMaklin. Photo: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan. 



The accompanying catalog is beautiful. Available online through the LACMA store.

"Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy" is at LACMA through Sunday, February 10, 2013.


Jessica Trent

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