Street Style: "LA Flash" at LACMA

Street Style: "LA Flash" at LACMA

by Gillian Singletary
09.04.2008

In 1973, Mary Hunt Kahlenberg was in London, waiting to board a plane back to Los Angeles.  Amidst the gray, drab weather and gray, drab London style, it was easy for her to pick out who was headed back to California because they were decked out in bright colors and loud prints echoing the summery "California spirit."  The stark contrast of these two style cultures inspired Kahlenberg, to create LA Flash.  Working with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, she commissioned 5 photographers to venture out into Los Angeles and document the styles of the LA streets. 

After stints in Venice, the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and elsewhere around L.A., Kahlenberg assembled a collection of over 400 vibrant, unique, occasionally bizarre photographs that were vibrant, unique and sometimes bizarre and put them on display at LACMA.  Guests would sit on carpeted bleachers and watch a projection of the photos.  Many images were met with shouts or catcalls from the audience who recognized themselves or their friends as the subjects on display.

On September 6th, 35 years later, LACMA will breathe new life into Kahlenberg's concept with LA Flash, a late night multimedia celebration of the streets of Los Angeles, beginning at 8PM.  The Los Angeles Times Central Court will play host to much of the night's action where DJ Carlos Nino will spin tracks that meld the sounds of 1973 with contemporary local music.  The Central Court will also feature a projection of Street Scenes How Youth See the Streets: Boulevard Without Borders.  This artistic experiment challenged teen residents of Pico Boulevard to explore their neighborhood through street photography.  Alongside this projection, guests will be able to experience the original LA Flash photographs, as well as be photographed themselves by roaming WireImage photographers.  The pictures from the event will be put online at lacmalaflash.org, digitally preserving LA's 2008 street style.

In keeping with the street scene theme, there will be tours of Thousand, an installation of a thousand Polaroids from celebrated street photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia.  Thousand showcases gritty, candid and powerful photos from diCorcia's street series over the past two decades including Hustlers, Streetwork, Heads and Lucky 13.  There will be tours of LACMA’s other exhibitions as well, including The Age of Imagination: Japanese Art, 1615-1868, the Modern Art galleries, the American Art galleries and the Latin American Art galleries.

At 8:30pm, the Leo S. Bing Theater will screen Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen's 2003 investigation of the city of Los Angeles as a film set and its portrayal throughout the history of American cinema.  The 169 minute film will have an intermission when Andersen himself will take the stage for a moderated Q&A.  Photographers Henry Wessel, Larry Sultan, Lauren Greenfield, Mike Slack and Ed Panar will sign their books in the Gift Store throughout the evening.

Tickets to LA Flash are $10 and can be purchased at the LACMA box office or online at lacma.org.

Click here for more info on LA FLash
Click here for more info on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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