The ideas of action and movement in a museum can be a bit two-sided. On the one hand, we're told, as visitors, to keep a slower gait, to not draw too close to the paintings, to keep a good distance from the sculptures.
And yet we want motion from what we gaze upon. We desire a little life in the paintings and sculptures that hold our gaze. Sometimes we find it, sometimes not, but muscular movement, and strength, and story, and vibrancy is not at all difficult to discern in Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, which is on at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through the first day of February.
Being able to detect action in the riding-forward figures is an understatement: A trio of helmeted warriors seems to gallop toward the viewer, horse hoofs up, reins in the hands of the samurai figures, which fill the room with sheer presence and power.
It can be exhilarating enough to stand before the figures representing the "the revered and feared warriors of Japan," but LACMA is going one better: Museum goers can hop on a Saturday morning tour, happening each Saturday through January, and learn more about the "battle gear made for high-ranking warriors and daimyo (provincial governors) of the 12th through 19th centuries."
The 50-minute tour is free with museum admission. A deeper look at the "140 objects of warrior regalia" is part of the informative walk-through, which will delve into the world of the samurai, their weaponry, steeds, armor, and more.
For a different take on the powerful, motion-mojo exhibit, and one with youth-focused bent, stop by LACMA on Sunday, Jan. 11 for the art-nice Andell Family Sundays. A helmet-making workshop for kids, with a samurai theme, is on the docket.