On Monday we went to our first art exhibition in over a year. Our first since the start of the COVID pandemic era. For us, and many others in California, that era really started early one afternoon in mid-March last year. That was when everybody in our office was immediately ordered to go home and remotely work until further notice.

At the time, the belief was this would only be for a couple of weeks. Maybe more. Of course, it was for a lot, lot, LOT more. We’ve been under shutdown for nearly 13 months now. For over a year, we’ve been working remotely, wearing masks, staying at home, enduring the shutdown of public gatherings, restaurants, theaters, etc.

Art museums were completely closed during this time. Cultural life, as we knew it, via the art world, largely ceased to publicly exist during the past year.

That changed last month when LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) announced they would re-open to the public in April on a reservation basis. We immediately booked tickets.

We had to pinch ourselves as we entered the galleries at LACMA to see the first of several stellar exhibitions currently on view. (See pix below.) The main exhibition is an exhaustive survey of Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. (We’ll be posting more on this later.) Nara’s work is now iconic — paintings and drawings of mischievous, cartoon-like little girls with angry facial expression, holding knives, bandaged or smoking cigarettes. But as this exhibition reveals, Nara’s work is much broader and deeper than this. Its roots highly influenced by popular rock and folk music and the artist’s formative experiences growing up in Japan and living in Germany.

It felt good to be back in the massive galleries of both LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum building (not to be confused with the separate Broad Museum in downtown L.A.)

Contemporary art spaces are like cathedrals for us. These are places for personal and aesthetic contemplation, which is a spiritual experience of its own. We finally felt like we were back at home. We felt a semblance of the old normal.