March 25, the Annenberg Foundation proudly unveiled a new museum project...the Annenberg Space for Photography, in Los Angeles...Century City to be exact.
Leonard Aube, Managing Director, The Annenberg Foundation
I was invited by Leonard Aube, the Foundation's LA Director, and former WMA board member, and extraordinary photographer of marine life (friend him on Facebook and you can check out his breathtaking images). I digress...
Leonard knows of my interest and dabbling in photography and was kind enough to provide me an invite to this coolest of cool openings.
The invitation arrived in the mail and thank goodness I've been working out the arms...the thing was thick heavy paperboard, a beautiful presentation. This party was Wallis Annenberg's personal opening, before the real opening on March 27, incredibly impressive - from invite to entertainment.
Arriving on scene we were met by a cadre of security in dark sunglasses (is the President arriving soon??) and a crowd of paparazzi standing behind a rail waiting patiently for a starlet to step in front of the "Annenberg Space for Photography" backdrop...I realized uh huh, that's just like the event photographs I see on TMZ. I hesitated and gawked briefly in case Robert Pattinson might breeze in with his posse. No luck.
No luck, and no stars except for one a friend pointed out later as a character actor that I didn't recognize at all.
Melissa Rosengard and William Harris
Inside the exhibit I immediately ran into WMA board member William Harris (a star in the museum field), a former colleague of Leonard's when Leonard was at the California Science Center. William was with Jeffrey Rudolph, Director of CSC admiring the exhibit "L8S ANG3LES" celebrating 11 local LA photographers.
I also had a conversation with Sidney Williams, the Palm Springs Art Museum associate curator of architecture & design and daughter-in-law of architect E. Stewart Williams (and host committee chair when WMA was in Palm Springs) who brought some colleagues from the desert to tour LA architecture and attend this exhibit.
In my museum celebrity spotting I also spied Charmaine Jefferson, director of the California African American Museum and host committee member for the WMA meeting in Pasadena in 2006 (detect a theme in my blog??) I'm sure there were more museum colleagues there, but the room became very club-like and at my advanced age...the music, lights and noise just sort of start to swirl and blend.
The building project itself was managed by Leonard Aube and it is nothing short of spectacular. It's a modest size, but it's finished beautifully - the main interior gallery space ceiling is a wood articulated camera shutter. In that same room are some large screens that show the breadth and depth of the current collection in a resolution three times greater than HDTV (according to a docent....but I was nearing my 2nd glass of wine, so don't quote me on that fact).
However, the twitter amongst the museum friends was the infamous kitchen in the middle of the museum. Yes, that's what I just wrote. I found it less than threatening, separate somewhat from the exhibit space...sort of. A really beautiful stainless kitchen that was so stunning, itself belongs in a museum. Wait. It is in a museum.
Wallis Annenberg, Wallis Annenberg is the Vice President and Trustee of the Annenberg Foundation
Later in the evening, Leonard was on stage thanking the crowd and thanking Wallis Annenberg, board chair of the Annenberg Foundation. Wallis, a gracious and generous philanthropist, and herself an avid photographer, was clearly delighted with the event.
She introduced Anne Wilkes Tucker, Special Advisor to the Annenberg Space for Photography and the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Also introduced were several of the artist photographers....the exhibit details can be found at: annenbergspaceforphotography.org.