LACMA All in the Family








Like Grandmom, like Grandson


What do Frida Kahlo, Tim Burton and Levitating Mass have in common?

This past year, all have called the twenty-two acre complex of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art home.

So have my mom, who volunteers there, and my son, who recently completed a college internship under the wing of the insightful Director of Guest Services at LACMA, Tim Deegan.

Mom’s always been an art lover who can spend hours gazing at a painting, discovering its hidden meanings at which point I’m already at the gift shop buying art-themed stationary and knick-knacks. My College Kid took an Art History class that has inspired him to float through the art galleries with much the same thoughtful, dreamy expression that I recognize from my mom.

It’s all in the family.

At Sunday dinners, they talk shop and discuss Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, which had to be hauled through Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties on its 22-city journey to LACMA. They analyze fundraiser call-a-thons; Mom holds the top spot on signing up the most new memberships and she mentors College Kid on phone solicitation. They also gossip.

Did you hear who got fired? Hired? Who had a temper tantrum in the elevator?

There is something oddly comforting about seeing a grandmother and her grandson laughing over art and people. My son and mom have checked people into hip-hop concerts in the pavilion, raised money for LACMA and answered some of the guests’ most pressing concerns: Where is the bathroom?

They’ve also got me thinking about the 340-ton boulder seated over a concrete trench like a massive hen hovering over and protecting its chicks.





Courtesy of LACMA


The quiet solidity of the boulder and the surrounding dusty paths speak to the idea that the material all originated from the same source. What is gravel and dust, but part of the boulder? It’s all connected, all in the family.

I just re-read that last paragraph. Perhaps it’s time to head back to the gift shop. I think I saw a Frida Kahlo notepad I could use.

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 4 comments. Add yours

  1. 22nd August 2012 | Roberta says: Reply
    I love your perspective on these things. You always make me laugh or smile. Which is a good thing. I'm an impressionist fan, but I do love a good rock.
  2. 4th August 2012 | Valerie Berke says: Reply
    I guess I'm very unsophisticated, I just can't see a huge boulder as art. Then again, I also don't see a big orange circle on a white canvas as art. I do love and adore the impressionists, so maybe I'm not totally lacking any sophistication. Love your articles, Val
  3. 2nd August 2012 | Claudette says: Reply
    I love reading your articles. I saw the boulder when it was on its way to LACMA, but haven't seen it since it is in place. Shame on me! Have to take time out to view it with my grandchildren (smile) Hope you are having a great summer.
  4. 1st August 2012 | Carpool Goddess says: Reply
    It's practically in my backyard and I'm feeling so guilty now for not visiting. That boulder looks really cool!

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