Essential Arts & Culture: Stoppard's new play, L.A.'s Wrigley Field, Dudamel's best-ever L.A. Phil piece

A new play from a renowned writer of screen and stage. The hidden history of L.A.’s Wrigley Field. (Sorry Chicago, we had one first.) And a choreographer receives his due. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer with the Los Angeles Times and these are the week’s most intriguing arts stories:

Tom Stoppard’s first play in a decade

It’s been a while since the dramatist and screenwriter Tom Stoppard produced a new play. But California is in luck: His new work, “The Hard Problem,” a comedy set in a neuroscience institute, will have its official opening at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco next week under the direction of Carey Perloff. For the occasion, Times theater critic Charles McNulty caught up with Stoppard, who says that with his work he aims to “stretch your mind just a little bit.” Los Angeles Times

McNulty has been super busy with this week, also catching a production of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid” at A Noise Within. The play is uneven, he notes, but lead actor Apollo Dukakis’ subtle performance as Argan, is a standout. Los Angeles Times

McNulty also checked out Donald Margulies’ “The Model Apartment,” the Obie Award-winning play from 1988 that is being staged at the Geffen Playhouse. The story, about the ways in which trauma is passed down from one generation to the next “retains its power,” he writes, but this revival “doesn’t venture all that far below the surface.” Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s Wrigley Field

As the Dodgers and the Cubs prepare to meet for Game 6 in Chicago on Saturday (GO DOYERS!), Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne looks at the little-known history of L.A.’s own Wrigley Field, a stadium built in 1925 by William K. Wrigley Jr., the Cubs owner, after he’d acquired a Pacific League team. “Built in a largely Spanish style with a 150-foot-high clock tower marking its front entrance, L.A.’s Wrigley Field was grand by the standards of minor-league parks then or now,” writes Hawthorne. “Reporters called it ‘Wrigley’s Million-Dollar Palace.’” Los Angeles Times

A secular chapel of abstract art

A beguiling new installation by artist Polly Apfelbaum has taken over the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. And while it is inspired by a 12th century Italian church and employs symbols of faith (ceramic spheres that evoke prayer beads, for example), its bold, abstracted forms also nod to Color Field painting. It is “an enchanting place of eccentric celebration,” writes Times art critic Christopher Knight, where “the stereotype of the artist mired in his own spiritual misery unravels.” Los Angeles Times

A play inspired by Joseph Beuys

The German conceptualist artist Joseph Beuys has influenced generations of artists by promoting the idea that every person could be an artist and that art could instigate social change. Now, reports The Times’ Jeffrey Fleishman, he has inspired an avant-garde play: “Every Hare an Artist: A Beuys Fable,” by Tom Patchett (known for being the co-creator of the TV series “Alf”) which is set to debut in Berlin. “He is a passion, an example to me,” says Patchett of Beuys. “He helped to heal what he called the German wound and get past an era of silence.” Los Angeles Times

A composer’s spirit lives on

Times classical music critic Mark Swed traveled to Japan to take in a concert marking the 20th anniversary of the passing of influential composer Toru Takemitsu, known for creating works that fused East and West for both stage and screen. The performance, set in the concert hall named for the artist, featured the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra — which over the course of the show, reports Swed, “became like an enchanted body able to set the entire building in audible vibration.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: Swed catches up with Gustavo Dudamel’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which is about to head out on its first tour, beginning with a stop at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Los Angeles Times

And he checked out the new opera “The Source” inspired by Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, a work that “makes vivid the confusing yet crucial bigger picture of how we handle, and how free we are to handle, information — a subject our leaders do their best to avoid.” Los Angeles Times

But the must-see music event of the week is the Mahler Ninth by the L.A. Phil — what Swed calls Gustavo Dudamel’s most impressive performance yet. “The orchestra was ... robust, alive to everything, chance-taking, bursting with color, taking expression to the outer limits, living for Mahler,” Swed writes. Try to hear this if you possibly can.” There are two more performances Saturday and one on Sunday. Los Angeles Times

Turning dance on its head

The Music Center begins its 2016-17 season with a tribute to groundbreaking American ballet dancer and choreographer William Forsythe. It’s part of an unprecedented series of performance tributes to the artist (who is also a professor of dance at USC) taking place in cities around the United States. Forsythe spoke with The Times’ Deborah Vankin about the shows. Together, these performances, he explains, represent a “logical trajectory” of his work. Los Angeles Times

A visit to the “Blacksonian”

It’s been roughly a month since the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Culture writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham have put together a moving, emotional podcast on the museum they dub the “Blacksonian,” its power and how it presents American history. They are joined by Smithsonian curator Joanne Hyppolite in the second half. Rilly rilly rilly good. New York Times

The election will be memed

The memorable art that has come out of this presidential election is not a bold graphic poster that says “Hope” or “We Like Ike.” It consists of the countless, anonymously created memes that have circulated all over the Internet — from Donald Trump making faces to the Hillary Clinton shimmy. I consider the meme in the context of other art-making practices, from World War I political art to the early collages of Pablo Picasso to the appropriations of the Pictures Generation. Naturally, Grumpy Cat and Pepe the Frog are name-checked. Los Angeles Times

Plus: From a naked Trump to an image of Clinton smoking a joint, a group of USC journalism students — Hannah Deitch, Stefanie De Leon Tzic, Brian Marks and Ethan Varian — have a related story on the political art that has made headlines this season. Los Angeles Times


— Seth Rogen, Jordan Peele and Tony Hale teamed up to perform short plays written by fifth-graders. Los Angeles Times

— David Antin, the UC San Diego professor known for his “talk poems,” has died at age 84. Los Angeles Times

— A new gift by collector Patricia Phelps de Cisneros will transform the Latin American holdings at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The Economist

— At a gallery in West Hollywood, Andy Warhol’s “Rain Machine” comes back to life. Los Angeles Times

— Artist Mark Bradford has created a bold new logo for the Santa Monica Museum of Art as it is reborn as the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

— Artist Yayoi Kusama gets a wax statue courtesy of Madame Tussaud’s in Hong Kong. The Art Newspaper

— That anti-density initiative supported by Leonardo DiCaprio? Turns out it’s not supported by Leonardo DiCaprio. Curbed

— Since we’re on topic of DiCaprio, it turns out his fundraising for LACMA has come under scrutiny as part of the Malaysian embezzling probe being led by the Department of Justice. The Hollywood Reporter

— The Mexican architecture firm Estudio 3.14 has imagined a border wall inspired by legendary Mexican architect Luis Barragán in the designer’s signature pink. Wondering if we could get the 10 Freeway to look like this, a wall of sorts. Dezeen

— Related: Writer Alexis Madrigal meditates on the large-scale human intervention that is our current border wall. Fusion

— A new documentary looks at the history of black ballerinas. Philadelphia Inquirer


Kendall Jenner does performance art. Like totes hilar omigod. Huffington Post

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