The west wall has a spare lineup of all five LACMA paintings that show the American West, hung to create a continuous horizon line. The east wall is entirely covered, floor to ceiling and corner to corner, by a salon-style installation of 25 of its East Coast views, installed chronologically. (LACMA owns a few more of these, but they are away in a touring show.)
The face-off is stark between Eastern profusion and Western scarcity, the East Coast as unfolding history and the West as an elusive border.
FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Spring arts preview
Partly the numbers reflect 19th century population-densities. Partly they show where working artists were clustered. And partly they represent patterns of private and public art collecting — of where concepts of “museum quality” have put historic emphasis in acquiring art.
Those notions of population, labor and value are of course fluid and contested rather than eternal and fixed.
Article source: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-review-compass-for-surveyors-lacma-20130321,0,7629149.story