Many LA locals might remember last week for Downtown LA Art Walk, which Golda previously wrote about. However, Art Walk was not the only large-scale art event that occurred in LA County. Last Friday night, Golda, Julie, and I also attended ArtNight Pasadena with our friend and blog partner, Holly Winn.
Like Art Walk and Venice Art Crawl, ArtNight raises awareness of independent artists and organizations. Unfortunately, we only had time to visit two venues, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and Alliance Française de Pasadena. Unlike Art Walk and Art Crawl, the various art exhibits and food trucks were too spread out to walk. Even though ArtNight provided free shuttle services between venues, buses were infrequent. In addition, the size of most exhibits were so huge that one could spend most of the evening attending just one site.
The two venues we attended were quite different from each other. For the Pasadena Museum of California Art, we saw two out of three exhibits, “L.A. Raw: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy” and “Project Room: Nancy Baker Cahill: Fascinomas.” The content was explicit to say the least. There were video footage, paintings, and sculptures portraying destructive naked bodies to reflect violence, rape, and political outrage in society. It might be for this reason that photography was not permitted in the area. On the other end of the spectrum, we had a very tame showcase at the Alliance Française de Pasadena, a French language school and cultural center. The cultural center displayed mainly tranquil paintings of landscapes. A musical performance was also held outside, but unfortunately, we arrived just as it ended. We also managed to catch a glimpse of some of the artwork shown near the entrance to the Armory Center for the Arts right before they closed. The paintings we saw were by design students, and their creativity definitely shined through with most of their works delving into surrealism and mythology.
Looking at so much art also made us hungry so we stopped by some food trucks. Like usual, the lines were long. It didn’t help that they were spread out in different parts of Pasadena, limiting the choices one had for each location. Golda ordered some milk tea from The Mighty Boba Truck. Holly purchased some tacos and mini churros from Border Grill while I ordered a feet-long Vietnamese sandwich from Nom Nom. The combination of baguette and cucumbers made my Vietnamese sandwich really crunchy. The liver spread tasted much better than it sounds. It provided a tangy sweetness with the mayonnaise, marinated carrots, and daikon radish to perfectly complement the meat. The cilantro and jalapenos also brightened the whole meal without being overly spicy. However, having eaten Vietnamese sandwiches of the same quality from other places, I do believe that $7+ was too much. I also purchased a bottle of GuS Grown-up Soda to go along with my sandwich. It’s a natural cola that puts both Coca Cola and Pepsi to shame. Using cane sugar instead of syrup also guarantees the taste is not overpowered by its own sweetness.
Overall I did enjoy the amount of museums ArtNight Pasadena offer compared to other art events. However, their distances from each other really limit how much one can see in a night. It’s free though so it’s definitely worth checking out! There are numerous paid parking lots throughout Pasadena. The streets are also filled with metered parking, but unfortunately, they’re enforced until midnight. There are some free parking along South Pasadena Ave if you look close enough.
Until next time,