THE LABORATORY CELEBRATES BRITWEEK AT THE GETTY VILLA / by nigel daly

 The Getty Villa.  Photograph Rex Gelert

The Getty Villa. Photograph Rex Gelert

"Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins with wonder." — Plato, (Theaetetus, 155d)

On May 8th, The Getty Villa celebrated Britweek in an exclusive VIP reception and private viewing of the Museum's newest exhibition PLATO IN L.A. The Laboratory Arts Collective was a proud media partner of this event and L.A. members joined the celebration. 

Guests wandered through the gardens enjoyed a perfect Californian evening, dined on fine food and wine and visited the contemporary art on display. It was the first time The Getty Villa had shown contemporary work alongside their superb collection of antiquities and it was beautifully curated by Donatien Grau.

“More than anywhere else in the United States, Los Angeles is a laboratory of existential and institutional experimentation, whose inhabitants must constantly negotiate a dialogue between the traditions of Europe and the multiculturalism of the modern American city. Plato, whose spirit is ever present in Los Angeles, reminds us that for humanity to prosper, it must contemplate a higher form of itself. By making thoughts perceptible, artists invite us to adopt this premise.” 
–Donatien Grau, Curator

The exhibition Plato in L.A. successfully brings the ancient teachings of Plato into our modern consciousness. The playfulness of the Koons sculpture is wonderfully complimented by the provocations of the other works on display. Taking the viewer into a deeper experience, a dialogue was struck up between some chosen sculptures  and the poetry of Gabriele Tinti. 

 (left to right) Poet Gabriel Tinti with actors Robert Davi and Oscar Sharp. Photograph Rex Gelert

(left to right) Poet Gabriel Tinti with actors Robert Davi and Oscar Sharp. Photograph Rex Gelert

Actors Robert Davi and Oscar Sharp were invited to read. The surprise of the evening was the power of Tinti's poems alongside his chosen statues. The conversation became very real as the ancients were brought directly to those who gathered to listen. A powerful dialogue bridged the past with the present. Both the poems and the art were brought to life and made relevant by the existence of the other. It was a literary reflection of the contemporary exhibition and a reminder of the timeless human journey as defined in Plato's philosophies.  

"The souls of people, on their way to Earth-life, pass through a room full of lights; each takes a taper - often only a spark - to guide it in the dim country of this world. But some souls, by rare fortune, are detained longer - have time to grasp a handful of tapers, which they weave into a torch. These are the torch-bearers of humanity - its poets, seers and saints, who lead and lift the race out of the darkness, toward the light. They are the law-givers and saviors, the light-bringers, way showers and truth tellers, and without them, humanity would lose its way in the dark."  Plato

The torch bearers participating in this contemporary exhibition are the following celebrated artists. Paul Chan, Rachel Harrison, Huang Yong Ping, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Whitney McVeigh, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, and Michelangelo Pistoletto. 

EXHIBITION PLATO IN LA AT THE GETTY VILLA,  RUNS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 3 2018

Photographs by Rex Gelert