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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

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

Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982

Dive into the origins of digital art with this survey of the artists, writers, musicians, choreographers and filmmakers who first started integrating computers and algorithms into their practices.

Afro-Atlantic Histories

More than 100 works spanning from the 17th century to today chart the history of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies in the African diaspora. The works and expressions on display in this LACMA exhibition come from just about every landmass that touches the Atlantic—and therefore places that participated in the slave trade—with works that are hundreds of years old shown next to contemporary creations.

Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, 1938–1945

  • Painting

This traveling exhibition celebrates a loose group of artists who came together in 1938 in New Mexico, linked by an inclination toward spiritually heightened abstraction. If you’ve day tripped into the deserts near L.A., you’re probably already familiar with a certain mystical quality among the artwork there, and the canvases here conjure that vibe—but decades earlier. You’ll see colorful geometric paintings that mix bold, colorful lines with pastel backgrounds (the homages to Wassily Kandinsky are particularly obvious if you’ve just come from LACMA’s modern galleries). The exhibition is broken up by artist with a focus on painters Raymond Jonson, Emil Bisttram, Agnes Pelton and Lawren Harris. While you’re there, make sure to venture into the adjoining gallery—an unrelated exhibition, to be clear—to see some remarkable lacquer works from East Asia.

Light, Space, Surface: Selections from LACMA’s Collection

  • Sculpture

We’re all kind of obsessed with the lighting in Southern California, but the local progenitors of the 1960s Light and Space movement really love it. (Fun fact: The glossy, slick style that ties these industrial-inspired pieces together is often referred to as “finish fetish.”) LACMA is digging into its collections to pull out all sorts of reflective and refractive works from the likes of Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Mary Corse, Fred Eversley and Robert Irwin, among others (though one notable name missing: James Turrell).

Sam Francis and Japan: Emptiness Overflowing

  • Painting

See how the California abstract painter was influenced by the Japanese concept of “ma,” the dynamic between form and non-form, at this LACMA exhibition. The show includes 60 works from the museum’s collection, a mix of Francis’s paintings and historic Japanese pieces.

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