Auto-inspired Art, Art-inspired "Hotline Bling" Video

Los Angeles, Downtown in particular, is slowly but surely moving away from its culturally assumed car-centric-ness. The City's new mobility plan is the most transit- and walking-focused policy initiative Los Angeles has ever seen. Opponents have called the plan a "War on Cars" and some automakers are gearing up to sue the City over it. But with a less car-focused future ahead, new arts and culture projects are emerging in celebration of the automobile and the freedom of vehicular movement. Most notable is Hopscotch - a roving opera that takes place in 24 cars cruising around Los Angeles. Opening on October 31, the performance uses cars (or limos in Hopscotch's case) as the musical setting and as the physical and metaphorical vehicle to carry out the story's progression. The show promises to be an unparalleled spectacle, dreamed up by Yuval Sharon's The Industry, which created the critically-acclaimed Invisible Cities throughout Union Station in late 2013. Hopscotch employs vehicles as a means of geographically-unbound engagement, allowing the performance to drop by many locations around the city. Similarly, the LA Phil wraps up its VAN Beethoven installation this weekend at Grand Ave Arts: All Access. A van outfitted with virtual reality technology, it has granted Angelenos a chance to experience a 4-minute philharmonic performance as if inside Walt Disney Concert Hall wherever the truck rolls up. We hope that decreasing our dependence on cars will allow for more art-driven opportunities for how vehicles can be creatively used.     •

Perhaps you, like us, went to LACMA in 2013 - early 2014 and saw the James Turrell retrospective. Perhaps you, like us, had an incredible meditative experiencing viewing so much of his lightscape work all in once place. (Confession: Upon leaving the exhibit the first time, there was a rainbow in the sky across the entire Hollywood Hills and I cried). So perhaps you, like us, have had some strange deja vu while perusing the internet this week thanks to rapper/singer Drake. The music video for his chart-topping single "Hotline Bling" came out on Monday. To summarize it, it's Drake and big booty women dancing in front of James Turrell light installations. Thanks to the captivating lightscapes, Drake's pretty silly dance moves, and his all-time-high cultural caliber, the video has blown up on the internet and has spawned hundreds of memes. While mainstream musicians repping high culture artists is not an entirely new phenomenon, it seems to be happening more aggressively than ever, and with a lot of Los Angeles context. Rihanna recently unveiled her new album artwork by contemporary artist Roy Nachum at Downtown LA's MAMA Gallery. Kanye West has worked with dozens of artists for his album art, wardrobe, and music videos, such as Takashi Murakami and George Condo, both on view at The Broad. It's fascinating to see art we engage with locally be brought to the forefronts of global mainstream. Yet we can't help but wonder if these are really reflections on superstar's favorite artists or if it's more of a 'stay relevant and culturally elevated' PR decision by Team Drake or Team Whoever. Or maybe Drake had just as enjoyable of an experience as we did at LACMA for the Turrell exhibit, though I suspect he may have left seeing dollar signs instead of a rainbow.      •

Drake's music video top, James Turrell light installation bottom.
Here are some Hotline Bling memes in case you need a dose.