Moving to a new city after college is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting, it’s a fresh start for a mature mind and a time and place when one truly comes into their own. The sights, sounds, and even smells surrounding you become synonymous with your new life as you breathe in the sunshine and the nightlife day after day. From live concerts, music festivals, and food trucks to the museums, art galleries and art walks, Los Angeles offers a little bit of everything for the creative spirit. Here we have me, eight years in and a bit stagnant, for lack of a better word. It’s not that I don’t enjoy what the city has to offer, but live here – or really anywhere – for long enough and you’ll begin to take the things that initially made your city so grand for granted. Unique locations like Hollywood and Highland, Venice, and Santa Monica lose their glittering grandeur and you’ll begin to curse the overcrowded freeway system instead of being enthralled by the distance from the snow to the sand, or the multitudes of live music venues and museums scattered around each and every nook of town. The arts offer us emotional relief and right now with everything going on politically it’s more important than ever that we all support our local galleries and museums.
Art and I have slowly but surely been coming to terms with each other. A self professed audiophile and lover of the arts, some specific fine arts like painting, portraiture, sculpting and drawing have been slow but sure to tickle my fancy in recent years. The more I see that the art world isn’t just full of lackluster landscapes and stuffy old people in silly clothing, but enamored scenes, surreal sculptures and peculiar pieces – the more I’ve come around. It’s taken a while to figure out which museums I should visit and which I might want to avoid, but the LACMA has a bit of everything for all, and amazing architecture to boot.
Initially part of the menagerie of museums at Exposition Park that were established in 1910, the LACMA broke off from the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art in 1961 to give proper focus to the fine arts at a separate location and they opened their doors to the public back in 1965. Now celebrating over fifty years of the arts, the LACMA currently sits on twenty sprawling acres of land in the Miracle Mile area and has been a staple of artistic culture in Los Angeles ever since. Boasting a collection of over 130,000 works ranging from ancient art and antiquity to the contemporary art of now, the LACMA stands proudly as the West Coast’s largest art museum.
Located on a conjoined lot with the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits, the LACMA complex consists of eight separate buildings and a sprawling green lawn, perfect for picnics. The Ahmanson Building houses the Art of the Pacific, the Rifkind Gallery for German Expressionists, Islamic, Asian and European Art, and Art of the Ancient World which is also hosted in the Hammer Building along with Korean and Chinese Art. The Pavilion for Japanese Art and Art of the Americas buildings need no further introduction while the Broad Contemporary Art Museum boasts paid exhibits, such as the Piacsso and Rivera Exhibition ‘Conversations Through Time’, an oddly immersive exhibit on the first floor and several areas devoted to contemporary collections.
For the multitudes of art that I find myself enamored by inside the LACMA, there are an equal number of awe inspiring architectural marvels and sculptures scattered around the grounds. One of the most popular is the ‘Levitated Mass’on the Fairfax side of the park, and the La Brea Tar Pits make for a fun history lesson, irregardless of your age. Not to mention, the Pavilion for Japanese Art oozes with incredible design that winds and weaves up and into the sky.
Open during the week from 11 to 5pm and weekends from 10 to 7, the LACMA has some fantastic food options. For lunch, there are always a bevvy of food trucks right across the way from the LACMA as well as some wonderful options within walking distance, including The Grove, and the Beverly + Fairfax Area. For a grab-and-go lunch on site, head to the LACMA Cafe, But if you’re down to lounge lavishly on the patio and people watch in comfort, then head on down to Roy’s and the Stark Bar. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricy side – but why not just pop in for a tasty beverage and a few sharable plates? My recommendation is an Urban Light drink with their Yellowtail Crudo, and then thank me later.
For more on the LACMA, head to their socials – or take a leisurely stroll into Los Angeles’ magical Miracle Mile area and see the museum for yourself.