by Gregg Chadwick
"L.A. is a city where people come to find themselves and explore new ways of thinking and being. They have a longing for an understanding of soul, and find themselves drawn to Jung."
-Nancy Furlotti, (co-president of the Philemon Foundation which financed the the translation of The Red Book)
At the Hammer Museum until June 6th is the exhibition The Red Book of C. G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology. On display for the first time on the west coast is psychologist Carl Jung’s (1875-1961) Red Book. Many scholars consider Jung's Red Book the most influential unpublished work in psychology. The Hammer Museum explains that "Jung also considered the Red Book to be his most important work, or as Jung described it, the "prima materia for a lifetime’s work."
Jung's massive illuminated volume has spent most of its existence in a Swiss safe deposit box. Only a select group has ever been allowed to view Jung's Red Book. Thanks to the Rubin Museum in New York, the Foundation of the Works of C. G. Jung, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, and the Jung family private archive, we now have the chance to view the Red Book.
The Hammer's show is intimately presented. Jung's Red Book is displayed open in a glass case in the middle of the exhibition space. Facsimile edition's of the Red Book printed by W.W. Norton & Company line one wall while Jung's thoughts, sketches and paintings encircle the room.
Jung sought to find a visual form for his dreams and fantasies and ended up using a mandala like structure in his graphic work. Similar in appearance to Tibetan Buddhist artworks, Jung's drawings and paintings evoke a world outside the flow of physical time. Instead we are given a fascinating glimpse into Jung's psyche. This once in a lifetime opportunity is not to be missed. And the lecture series (see below for an example) is noteworthy as well.
RED BOOK DIALOGUES: LAWRENCE WESCHLER & DENNIS PATRICK SLATTERY
Jung's Red Book at the Hammer Museum until June 6, 2010
Susan Emerling in the Los Angeles Times on Jung's Red Book