Various Small Fires (Working Documents)

Art of the Americas Building, Level 3
May 30, 2015–February 7, 2016

Various Small Fires (Working Documents) brings together artworks and documents from the LACMA archives to tell unusual or overlooked stories of the museum’s first 50 years. Ranging from items that outline a robot roaming the galleries to a Rembrandt painting traveling in disguise to a dog working as a security guard, this exhibit flares up minor, formative, and occasionally incendiary stories that have informed LACMA’s history.

To illuminate these anecdotes and to spark dialogues between objects and documents, Various Small Fires also features works in our collections by artists Reverend Ethan Acres, Barbara Bloom, Chris Burden, Michael Crowe, Eugenio Dittborn, Louise Lawler, Allan McCollum, Maria Nordman, Claes Oldenburg, Terrence O’ Shea, Jackson Pollock, Sanford Roth, Ed Ruscha, James Welling, and possibly George Brecht.

Additionally, the exhibition presents 50 portraits of people looking at art at LACMA—one per year, from 1965 through 2015.

Image: County Museum On Fire Study, Ed Ruscha, 1965, Collection of Ed Ruscha. © 2015 Edward Ruscha.

Curating Various Small Fires

For the exhibitionVarious Small Fires (Working Documents), curator Jose Luis Blondet delved into the small, strange stories within LACMA’s history. The process took him off the beaten path of institutional memory, and hunting down these stories was no easy task. They were obscured by neglect...