Exploring Art and Culture in Los Angeles

You don’t have to look too hard to find some culture in LA, there are around 30 art galleries and 16 museums to choose from so it is hard to know where to start. We aren’t particularly art buffs but with a city so abundent in art we had to visit at least a couple during our time here. We managed to visit two of them including probably the most famous.

LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art

We visited here, primarily to see the installation known as Urban Light, it turned out to be a very popular spot, full of Instagrammers, and you know what they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em 😊 so we had our own fun there.

We arrived too late to get a ticket for the actual art gallery, but we managed to see what we came for, and for a little bonus we saw statues of the 12 animals that take turns in representing Chinese years.

Getty Center

You can’t just show up here, you need to make a reservation. Something that would have been very helpful to know on the Monday we first tried to visit. It is closed every Monday 🤥

When you do make a reservation, for any day you like, except Monday, you will get your admission tickets free of charge. If you choose to drive there they will take a “Jackson”, or a “dub”, or a “double sawbuck” off you to cover parking fees. In other words $20. Nice of J Paul Getty to let us in to see his collection for no cost though. Well he was once upon a time the richest man in the world, so even if he was still alive, he could probably still afford it. Sadly he died in 1976, in Sutton Place, England. I am sure it was a sad time for the family, but their grief may have been slightly offset by the inheritance. The family are currently said to be worth between 5 and 6 billion dollars!

We had reserved a 2 hour slot from 3pm through to closing at 5pm. To be honest we hadn’t done much homework, had no idea what to expect, and 2 hours turned out to be nowhere near long enough to view even half of his collection. It was magnificent, and I wish we had time to revisit at a more leisurely pace. It is a large sprawling site that takes 20 minutes to walk from the entrance to the first exhibit, a steep uphill walk at that. Or you can take a tram, guess which we did? 😊 We did walk back down though! Both near the main extrance and around the grounds there were several pieces of artwork.

The Getty Center is a collection of beautiful, modern, light airy buildings, in north, east, south and west sections. Each section contains several different styles of art including photography, statues, paintings, drawings and furniture pieces. The grounds, and especially the views of LA from there aren’t too shabby either 😊

I once paid £44 at an Athena Posters store, for a 4 foot wide copy of The Irises by Van Gogh, glass covered in an aluminium frame. The Getty family went one better, and bought the original, getting small change from $54million in 1987, when the painting was 2 years short of being a century old.

The taking of photographs, surprisingly was allowed, and we also managed to snap a few pieces from the likes of Monet, Cezanne and Degas.

Running out of time we whizzed around, taking in some of paintings of King Louis XIV amongst others, along with some of his furniture too.

We headed for the gift shop on the way out. On entering, we were barked at! “Store closes in 2 minutes!” the legendary American customer service eluding us once more. No souvenirs were purchased, and we left 😊 A slightly disappointing ending to a fantastic visit, and one we would highly recommend should you ever find yourself in Malibu.

Nigel & Carol x

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