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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

  • Museums
  • Miracle Mile
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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
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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.

Details

Address:
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles
90036
Price:
L.A. County Residents: $23, seniors and students $19, 17 and under free; Mon–Fri after 3pm free. Non-residents: $28, seniors and students $24, ages 13–17 $13, 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

ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN

  • Painting

Oof. Honk. Spam. Ed Ruscha’s laconic canvases are familiar fixtures for L.A. museumgoers, and LACMA has brought them all together in this major, floor-filling retrospective. Ruscha’s background in commercial art is evident in the big, bold text that draws your attention in his earliest Pop art paintings. But so too is his fascination with urbanism and infrastructure: the vibrant colors and sharp angles of his Standard station paintings, the black-and-white shapes of his catalog of L.A. apartments, the mesmerizing aerial shots of some of L.A.’s largest parking lots and his meticulous photos of the Sunset Strip. The retrospective also presents the opportunity to see the fiery painting Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire on display at LACMA for the first time ever, as well as a reconstruction of his Chocolate Room (which, yes, is a distinct-smelling room made out sheets upon sheets of chocolate).

Painting in the River of Angels: Judy Baca and The Great Wall

Judy Baca’s half-mile–long The Great Wall of Los Angeles, a collaborative mural painted in the ’70s along the Tujunga Wash, has received all sorts of museum love in the past few years. But LACMA has a particularly unique show to boast about: The local Chicana muralist and SPARC artists will paint two new sections of The Great Wall during museum hours. The exhibit also debuts a new section of the wall, in honor of activists known as the Freedom Riders, dubbed Generation on Fire.

Jazz at LACMA

  • Jazz

One of L.A.’s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured legit legends over its three-decade run at the museum. Seating for the program is available in the museum’s plaza on a first-come, first-served basis, though you’re welcome to picnic on the grass, too (you won’t really be able to see the show, but you’ll still hear it). You’ll find the series on Friday evenings in LACMA’s welcome plaza (just behind Urban Light) throughout the summer.

Simone Leigh

  • Sculpture

See large ceramic and bronze sculptures at LACMA plus a few more sculptural pieces and collaborative video works at CAAM during this crosstown exhibition of Black feminist artist Simone Leigh.

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