Nicole Nguyen

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In my free time and when my wallet allows me to, I love spending my time in the museums.  Seeing the different art works gives me inspiration and puts me in a state of awe.  On a late Friday afternoon earlier this month, I made my way to LACMA.  Unknowing to me there was a live outdoor concert where people can set up a picnic out in the grassy areas and enjoy food and music with family and friends.  That did not interest me at all, since I had two goals that I set out to accomplish.  It was to see Jesus Rafael Soto’s Penetrable and Chris Burden’s Metropolis II.

The first installation I went to see is Soto’s Penetrable.  The long yellow tubes hanging high about your head.  Walking through them was a whole different experience.  As one venture closer to the center of the installation, it brought the feeling of being isolated from the rest of the world.  The tubes blurred the vision both ways; it was hard to see from the center out, and from the outside in.  As simple as a piece this was, it is a piece were one can interact with it, and have their own interpretation and feelings from this experience.

The piece that I was most interested in was Chris Burden’s Metropolis II.  The scale was quite larger than what I expected.  And there was so much going on mechanically.  There were thousands of toy cars racing around on the tracks, trains slowly moving around and about, and the different buildings made of different materials.  Seeing the toy cars go around reminds me of my childhood, playing with Hotwheels with my younger brother.  But as I watch the cars get stacked up behind one another on the up ramp before individually zipping off in and around the buildings, it reminded of me the city.  It is a reminder of how congested it can get with all the cars that are on the highway.  To see the trains moving at a much slower pace shows how the use of public system isn’t used as much or is not as common in use.  The buildings are like that of Downtown LA, each unique and different.

Overall, I could spend hours watching the cars make their way around what seems like an endless track.  And observe all the details that are found in and around the building structures.  Metropolis II really makes me step back and see how busy the city can be and have us fail to realize the beauty of the city.  And that’s what Chris Burden’s installation did for me.  Though the buildings aren’t exactly the tall buildings that dominate the LA skyline, it is a reminder to me to just take a step back in life and just embrace and enjoy the beauty that we forget to see and realize.


mage Source:

Kazuyo Sejima is a renowned Japanese architect.  She studied at the Japan Women’s University, and worked in the office of Toyo Ito.  She founded a Tokyo-based firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) with former employee Ryue Nishizawa.  Together with Nishizawa, help design and create the Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

In 2000, the firm was picked to design a new building for the museum that will house many of their glass collection.  The construction of the museum took two years, and cost $30 million.  It was opened to the public August 2006.  The pavilion can feature more than 5,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary times.

How and what the pavilion was designed for is impressive.  The 74,000 square foot building has rooms for galleries, artist studios, demonstration areas, and space that can be utilized for education, visitor relaxation, and special events.  The exterior and majority of the interior walls are made of glass.  The roof and interior structural supports are made of steel.  There are 360 glass panels, which are mainly consisted of curved panels, that measure to approximately 8 feet wide by 13 ½ feet high, each weighing about 1,300 to 1,500 pounds.

Not only does the pavilion house many art works, it itself, is a work of art.  The glass panels help create a blur to the boundaries of the interior and exterior.  This allows the visitors to connect the indoors with the outdoors.  The artists that work in the many studios that are provided will be able to connect to the outdoors as well.  The glass walls divide the different space in the building.  The transparency lets the visitors connects to the object and the activities that is going on across the pavilion.  Something quite unique in the design by Sejima and Nishizawa is how the glass panels allow for a close physical- and transparent- relationship between the art inside the gallery and to the artists that are working in the studios.

The Glass Pavilion has won many awards, a few being an award for “Best Museum” in 2007 from Travel + Leisure; and from the Ohio Museums Association, the Institutional Excellence Award.

Tower Hill Square – London
Book : Urban Landscape Architecture; Image Source:
By: Stanton Williams, 2004
This site was changed to bring out the pre-existing landscape and architecture to connect the visitors/viewers to the surroundings.

Grammont Park – France
Book: Urban Landscape Architecture
By: Agence Concepto, Agence Jacqueline Osty
The lighting for the park highlights the landmarks and the different spaces that are found throughout the park.

Plastic Garden – Massachusetts
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ook: Designed Landscape Forum 1
By: Dean Cardasis and Associates
This site accentuates both the synthetic (the house and the materials used) and the natural (the forest) qualities of the landscape it occupies.

Dancer Fastening the Strings of Her Tights (ca. 1885-1890) by Edgar Degas

Blog #4

The San Diego Museum of Art was a completely different experience I have had when I visit museums.  It was quite small compared to the Getty Center Los Angeles.  Though it was a small museum, it still had its unique qualities.

There were only two floors to the entire museum, so I started off on the first floor which was mainly art from non-western countries, or non-European artworks.  What caught my eye the most of this entire floor was the East Asian art.  There were beautiful painted scrolls that run up the height of the wall that it was hung on.  The scrolls and the statues made the atmosphere in this exhibit made calming and soothing, especially with the ancient folk music playing in the background.

The second floor was completely European art.  I browsed through this half of the museum quickly because the museum was about to close soon.  As I was making my way through the exhibit hall, I recognized the style and works of impressionist Edgar Degas, one of my favorite artists.  I hardly see any of his works displayed, so it was quite a delight to be able to stumble upon his work at such a small museum.

I made way back to the first floor to see one last exhibit which was their special-temporary exhibit, which featured more modern works and works from American artists.  It was a different experience to see these works.  Some works played with light and shadows, and some were a bit questionable.  It is interesting to see how the artists use different mediums.  Some used video, and some with sound.  This final exhibit was a completely different experience then the “standard” exhibit.

Though small in size, the San Diego Museum of art was a unique experience.  It had its own charm to it.  It was not busy so it was nice to look at all the artworks without having someone hovering behind you to take a look as well.  And it was quiet throughout the museum to let your mind take in all it is seeing.


Blog #3

Waking up early like any other day, but today was different.  Today I was going to head down to San Diego for the first time in a few years.  Above all else, it was my first time going to Balboa Park.  The morning started out just the same, waking up before anyone else to get ready.  I volunteered to drop off my brother that day for his classes.  I grabbed some breakfast afterwards and made my way to my boyfriend’s house while I wait for a fellow classmate to pick me up to head down to San Diego.  As soon as I was picked up by my fellow classmate, we were off to San Diego.  I was looking forward to going to the San Diego Museum of Art.  It was a bit of a long drive, but no traffic.  We arrived at Balboa Park just before noon.  Being that it was both our first time here, we were a bit lost as to where to park.  After parking we walked around the entire park, looking for places to take photographs for our assignment.  The gardens were beautiful and unique in their own way.  It was quite busy for a Monday, and there were younger school kids there for their field trip.  We spent a few hours roaming around, taking pictures or retaking pictures after figuring out it wasn’t to our personal standards.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat then made our way to the San Diego Museum of Art.  Being a big art fan, I was extremely excited, yet just a bit disappointed.  It was a much smaller museum compared to the ones I simply love, like the LA Getty or the Getty Villa, but it was still amazing all the same.  There were a great variety of style periods throughout the museum, but there was one artist in particular that I always admire, and it was a piece by Edgar Degas, a French Impressionist painter, famous for his ballerina artwork.  There was not that many of his pieces, but it was still a delight to see his work.  I stood there looking at his different pieces for quite some time.  At the end of our trip, though we spent most of our time walking around Balboa Park, it was worth the trip.  Getting to experience a new place and get inspired by not only the landscape and the gardens, but also by the other forms of art and design.