A complete guide to the Broad
Make the most of your visit with some tips to know before you arrive, our favorite works of art, things to do nearby and more.
11 essential museums to visit in Los Angeles
Don't leave LA—whether you're a resident or a tourist—without seeing these truly great LA attractions.
Top 10 must-see works at LACMA
LACMA holds one of the most impressive collections of art in Los Angeles. Here are 10 art works you don’t want to miss.
Getty Center guide
A visit to the vast Getty Center can be dizzying. Only have a couple hours to spare? Here's how to turn a mid-day break at this LA museum into an enchanting escape.
Best off-the-beaten path museums
Looking for something different to do? From car culture to Cold War propaganda, our offbeat Los Angeles museum guide reveals the city's best lesser-known attractions.
Free museums and admission days
In 1974, oil magnate J Paul Getty opened a museum of his holdings in a faux villa in Malibu, based on the remains of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. Derision from critics and ridicule from art experts followed, but no matter—the Getty grew into a beloved local attraction. In 1997, the decorative arts and paintings were moved to the Getty Center, and the villa was closed for conversion into a museum for Getty's collection of Mediterranean antiquities. When it reopened in 2006, part-restored and part-transformed by architects Jorge Silvetti and Rodolfo Machado, the press was rather kinder.There are roughly 1,200 artifacts on display at any one time, dated between 6,500 BC and 500 AD, and organized under such themes as Gods and Goddesses and Stories of the Trojan War. If you're a novice, start in the Timescape room (numbered as room 113), where a wall-mounted frieze maps the different civilizations along with the art and statuary they created.You could easily spend a few hours idly wandering through the galleries, but some exhibits really stand out. In room 101C, look for an amazing Greek perfume container that dates back to around 400 BC: it's incredibly elegant and, despite its age, entirely intact. Room 101 holds a collection of disparate items relating to Greek gods, among them a 2,500-year-old monumental statue of Aphrodite in limestone and marble, and some delicate painted oil jars. The outlandish, stag-spouted drinking horn in room 105 is gloriously absurd. And in ro
Industrialist Armand Hammer founded this museum, primarily to house his own collection. Now, under the ownership of UCLA, the Hammer stages fascinating themed shows of modern art, photography and design. The former have included everything from video installations to American comic art; the latter are often drawn from UCLA's Grunwald collection of graphic arts. The shows are supplemented by the Hammer Projects series, focused on emerging artists; works from Hammer's collections; and an excellent, largely free events program that takes in music, films, symposia and so on. Committed to showcasing the works of underrepresented artists from all over the world, the Hammer's multimedia exhibits rotate frequently, so it's worth checking the calendar often. Admission is free on Thursdays, and the museum's open-air courtyard cafe, Ammo, makes for a great post-gallery pit stop.
Museums in LA
MOCA Grand Ave
The main branch of LA's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) houses thousands of artworks crafted from 1940 until now. Spend half an hour or an entire afternoon absorbing contemporary pieces from lesser known artists, punctuated by sightings of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock works. For just $12 ($7 students and seniors), you can have your run of the place, including a free audio tour and access to outdoor installations. If you plan your visit for a Thursday night between 5pm and 8pm, admission to MOCA Grand Ave is on the house.
Ongoing museum exhibitions
Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs
Explore a walk-in tomb recreation and over 20 mummies and coffins, from Pre-Dynastic Egypt to Pre-Incan Peru, at the Natural History Museum. An export from Chicago's Field Musum, the exhibit injects a bit of modern technology with CT scans, 3D-printed casts of bones, forensically reconstructed sculptural busts and interactive touch tables for digitally unwrapping mummies. To celebrate the new exhibit, the museum will stay open until midnight on opening day, Friday, September 18.
New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933
Germany found itself in a precarious position following World War I; on the one hand, the country was submerged in staggering unemployment and inflation, but on the other it fostered a democratic and industrial boom. The uneasy attitude that arose unifies most of the works in LACMA's examination of this 15-year period. The exhibition combines paintings, photographs and a small selection of films to represent a group of artists including Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz and August Sander who turned their backs on Expressionism and toward realism. There's a subtle creepiness that pervades most of the works here, with gallery spaces dedicated to topics like prostitution and lustmord (sexual murder). Shadows and ghoulish faces lurk in the background of social revelry while the fallout of war (and hindsight knowledge of the impending Nazi takeover) turn pastoral scenes into unnerving nightmares. For all of the grotesque features, a lot of the scenes seem suprisingly contemporary; you'll find walls dedicated to cacti and succulents, still lifes of commodities, and gay and lesbian zines. Just as the artists in this exhibition viewed the Weimar Republic with heightened awareness and close scrutiny, so too does the viewer. It's an often overlooked period in art history—blockbuster movements like the Bauhaus and Dadaism aside—and the exhibition does a fantastic job of engaging visitors in otherwise alienating and uneasy artwork.
The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris
"What would it be like to know nothing about Lawren [Harris] and walk in?" says Steve Martin (acting here as guest curator) about the latest exhibition at the Hammer Museum. With no context whatsoever, the cool-colored landscapes are pleasantly dreamy. But with a little bit of background, the show is a revelatory history lesson. "The Idea of North" is the first major exhibition of works from Canadian artist Lawren Harris to be presented in the United States—the Hammer says his work was last shown in LA in 1926. Though Harris's paintings are iconic in Canada, they've never made an impact in the U.S.; in fact, it was Martin who first introduced the little-known artist to the Hammer. The show presents over 30 landscape paintings and studies of Lake Superior and the Canadian Rockies. The scenes depicted represent idealized impressions of real locations, with a style somewhere between Edward Hopper's realism and Georgia O’Keeffe's abstraction. Harris's work fits in so well with America's bread-and-butter landscape painters that it's frustrating most of us are only now discovering these images from the 1920s and '30s. But that sense of fresh discovery is ultimately one of the most rewarding parts of the exhibition.
UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015
The Hammer takes a mid-career look at the works of Los Angeles–based artist and writer Frances Stark. The exhibition assembles 125 lyrical, provocative mixed-media works, from drawings and collages to PowerPoint slide shows and Instagram photos.
Frank Gehry's iconic architecture has transformed cityscapes all over the world (our own included, thanks to the Walt Disney Concert Hall). LACMA is honoring the LA-based architect with a career-spanning retrospective. Though Gehry's creativity seems so effortless—The Simpsons lampooned his design process as simply crumpling up a piece of paper—there's actually a considerable amount of technology behind his works. The exhibition focuses on the development of these digital design and fabrication programs, along with the architect's relationship with urbanism.