On the top floor of Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum, people amble through the galleries in silence, their eyes gobbling up the Orientalist arches of Moreau’s “Salomé Dancing before Herod” and every cloth ruffle in Rembrandt’s portraits. Downstairs, patrons are invited to take a dip in a heart-shaped hot tub, a fully-functioning installation by the artist Tita Cicognani, challenged to feel their germs rubbing against other people’s germs.
At Lulu, the museum’s restaurant in an open-air atrium, patrons focus their aesthetic, visceral hunger on wooden platters of Parmesan; chaotically geometric, Kandinsky-like arrangements of green beans and tomatoes; berries affectionately cradled in whipped sabayon like plump newborn babies. This is Alice Waters’ nearly year-old restaurant, her first-ever project in Southern California, with New York Times Cooking columnist and longtime Chez Panisse chef David Tanis and chef de cuisine Luis Serra leading the kitchen. And it’s just as much of an installation, an expression of its milieu, as the hot tub and Rembrandts.
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