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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

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  1. LACMA
    Photograph: Shutterstock/Min C. Chiu
  2. LACMA
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  3. LACMA
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  4. LACMA
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  5. LACMA
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Time Out says

Timed tickets required. Free for L.A. County residents weekdays after 3pm. No tickets are required to see outdoor sculptures Urban Light and Levitated Mass.

Chris Burden’s Urban Light, a piece made up of 202 cast-iron street lamps gathered from around L.A. and restored to working order, has quickly become one of the city’s indelible landmarks over the past decade—and it’s inevitably what most visitors will identity the museum with. But you’d be selling yourself short if you don’t venture beyond the photo-friendly installation; LACMA’s collections boast modernist masterpieces, large-scale contemporary works (including Richard Serra’s massive swirling sculpture and Burden’s buzzing, hypnotic tangle of toy cars in Metropolis II), traditional Japanese screens and by far L.A.’s most consistently terrific special exhibitions.

While LACMA’s encyclopedic collections have long been the most impressive in the city, the 20-acre complex of buildings in which they’ve been housed has been quite the reverse. So the eastern half of the campus has been leveled with construction underway on a single-building replacement due to reopen in 2024. In the meantime, LACMA’s permanent collections have been scattered across the Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and Resnick Pavilion (the much-loved modern collection specifically has been moved into the bright, spacious third-floor galleries in BCAM).

As for the art itself, you’ll see contemporary titans like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and local artist Ed Ruscha; familiar modernists like Picasso, Mondrian, Klee and Kandinsky; Impressionist and post-Impressionist pieces by the likes of Cezanne, Gauguin and Degas; as well as a world-renowned collection of Islamic art, plenty of pieces from Africa and, in the (temporarily closed) Pavilion for Japanese Art, all manner of delightful pieces from the Far East.


5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles
L.A. County Residents: $20, seniors and students $16, 17 and under free; Mon–Fri after 3pm free. Non-residents: $25, seniors and students $21, ages 13–17 $10, 12 and under free. Free every second Tue of the month.
Opening hours:
Mon, Tue, Thu 11am–6 pm; Fri 11 am–8 pm; Sat, Sun 10am–7 pm; closed Wed
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What’s on

Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.

  • Mixed media

Her works are in just about every contemporary collection in town and her bold Futura captions have been endlessly ripped off. But LACMA has put together a proper exhibition of the influential artist with “Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” The videos and large-scale vinyl wraps span four decades, while the audio soundscapes extend across the museum campus. It’s presented like a retrospective, albeit thematically instead of chronologically, but at the same time it’s introspective: Kruger has updated some of her recognizable works from the ’80s into animated videos, and an into gallery highlights the many T-shirts and memes that’ve appropriated her white-on-red captions. Kruger’s works comment on consumerism, politics, power, identity and feminism in remarkably direct ways: Picturing “Greatness” points out how most of LACMA’s celebrated artists are white men, Untitled (Forever) fills an entire room with a black-and-white Virginia Woolf excerpt that begins with a very large “YOU,” while the cheeky Untitled (Selfie) asks visitors to love or hate themselves as voyeurs watch from elsewhere in the museum.

City of Cinema: Paris 1850–1907

Before Hollywood was churning out silent pictures and talkies, Paris was at the center of early cinema. Through objects and artworks, LACMA is exploring how forays into moving images emerged in the 19th-century French capital.

Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse

  • Textiles

There are two things you should probably know before you step inside of the first West Coast exhibition centered on the late, innovative fashion designer: None of the headpieces are designed by McQueen, and we don’t actually know if any of the complementary works of art on display directly inspired him. If you read the wall text when you first walk into the gallery you’d already know that, but let’s be real: Many visitors are here to beeline it to some extraordinarily-constructed dresses and jackets from McQueen’s aughts collections, and those certainly don’t disappoint. Above all else, “Mind, Mythos, Muse” demonstrates how the young designer’s creations could spin up such imaginative narratives from thread. (Fun and enviable fact: All of the dresses come from one person, Regina J. Drucker, who gifted her high-fashion collection to the museum.) To hone in on those themes, the exhibition examines the influences of mythology, nature and McQueen’s Scottish heritage, as well as appreciates his masterly, historically-informed technique. Just about each look is paired with some piece of historical inspiration, whether a Renaissance vase, a 16th-century Flemish print or a colorful piece of French textile, or more contemporary sources like a Picasso print, Robert Mapplethorpe portrait or a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. In some cases, centuries-old outfits (differentiated by the gray headpieces atop their mannequins) are situated next to McQueen designs. You can certainly

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