‘til I met Greg and Julie I didn’t know about MOLAA.
Most likely, you may have not heard of it either. But you should.
mural at the entrance
It’s not common to make new friends when you are in your sixties. It is even more difficult to make friends when you are a couple and you have to make sure that your spouse likes the other two.
Peter rediscovered Greg, a friend from his early 20’s; and with Greg came Julie. My reaction was: Two new people? We’ll have to see …
Greg is Peter’s lost brother in spirit, hysterically funny and bubbly, but Julie was more quiet and unknown, but as we say “still waters run deep” and I concluded that this couple is a treasure.
So how do you get together with a couple who lives in Oceanside and you live in San Fernando Valley?
You meet in Long Beach.
And what do you do there when it’s almost 100 degrees? Well, as you undoubtedly know, women prevail – so the two of us said almost in unison, “… there’s a museum of Latin art.” (Read: Air-conditioning and culture. Win/win.)
“Fine“, said the defeated men who unenthusiastically followed us to the car.
Neither one of us have heard about it before and we had no idea what to expect.
So before you hear about the museum, let me just start with the end: Run to visit, don’t walk. It’s a treasure.
It’s small. It’s architecturally beautiful. Also, it has a lovely vibrantly painted café, so if your partner is not intrigued, you can plant him/her there with a cup of coffee, and then meet them when you are through.
But most importantly, the current exhibition, Sociales: Débora Arango Llega Hoy, touched me deeply, since I often wonder as much about the artist as I do the art.
To be a woman artist in Columbia starting in the 1930’s and infuriate the repressive and conservative Catholic church with bold paintings of poor naked women – prostitutes and derelicts … this took immense courage (or as I would say Chutzpah). But, to challenge the aggressive and dictatorial government by depicting the ills of society, the censorship, the massacres of its citizens and their cruelty – this was beyond courageous. It could have been suicidal. And yet, she did not stop!
I always admire people who dare to push boundaries, and even more so those who are willing to do so at the risk of their own lives. I actually believe that a true artist does not have a choice, they feel compelled to create. Debora Arango did not stop. She didn’t paint pretty attractive subjects, and her work wasn’t necessarily artistically magnificent. Nevertheless, her paintings make you pause; they make you feel; they make you want to look away sometimes. They make you know.
There are other exhibitions in the museum,
the sculpture garden is lovely,
and I’ve mentioned the café already. But I’m mostly happy that Debora Arango came for a visit, and that I was there to visit her. She is still there, so hurry up before her paintings and the stories about them will be moved to another museum.
As we left the museum … the guys said it was “nice” … and we started planning our next get together … and we already know that it’ll be a tour of the battleship Iowa in Long Beach … (Are battle-ships air-conditioned?)
So you see, as you contemplate a visit to Long Beach, and you think of the Queen Mary, the Aquarium and the Battleship Iowa, please veer north and go to MOLAA; drink strong coffee; eat a Latin meal and visit the exhibitions.
A treasure indeed.