“FAME,” the latest art experience at the El Segundo Museum of Art, explores the “ambivalent soul of Los Angeles” and the meaning of fame through an eclectic selection of art from the Sweeney Collection, as well as Cold War artifacts from the Wende Museum in Los Angeles.
Eva and Brian Sweeney’s collection features more than 500 pieces with 25 of those on display in “FAME.” The Sweeneys opened ESMoA earlier this year, and have already brought provocative exhibits to El Segundo while emphasizing arts education for local students. “FAME” will include works from Andy Warhol to Helmut Newton. “FAME” opens to the public Sunday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an introduction beginning at 11 a.m.
“Fame rises and falls over time and your memories rise and fall,” said Brian Sweeney, a real estate investor turned art collector. “We want to challenge people to think about their memories and what was important to them. What they retained in their mind will surprise them ... what was important 20 years ago is obviously not important today. I think it’s another stimulating exhibition we have planned that will cause people to ponder and think about their lives and what really is important.”
Curator Bernhard Zuenkler added, “The diversity ... there will be something for everybody. I don’t think anyone will leave the exhibition without thinking there wasn’t a piece that didn’t touch me ... we really play with the memories of people.”
The exhibit will have an unusual feature: a rolling exhibit floor that signifies the roller coaster world of fame, which Zuenkler calls a “walking sculpture.”
“With every exhibition you give the space a different feel, so you get a new perception about looking at art,” Zuenkler said.
ESMoA’s last exhibit, “Truth,” was too adult so the education aspect was curtailed this summer, but Sweeney said it will be at the forefront for “FAME.” For its first exhibit, “Desire,” which opened in January, more than 2,000 students, mostly from El Segundo, took an hour and a half course at the museum. Sweeney said he hopes to bring more than 3,000 students for “FAME,” which includes instruction from Getty educators.
“We are really working with the community in a big way and I think the show will be perfect for that,” said Sweeney, who hopes to reach out to more schools, including those in Los Angeles.
Sweeney said a number of events will be scheduled to coincide with “FAME.” One already on the calendar is a professional Elvis impersonator contest, which will be held at the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, located at 140 Richmond St., on Nov. 14. “Elvis Who?” is co-produced by photographer Peter Badge. The evening’s focus will be the Elvis of the 1950s with the contestants performing beginning at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit esmoa.com.