Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Time Out says
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 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. The midcentury grace of the original William Pereira-designed campus was mucked up with a series of postmodern additions; on the other hand, the Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and Resnick Pavilion are bright, spacious galleries that house LACMA’s contemporary works and exciting exhibitions.
Just a heads up: The eastern half of LACMA’s campus (home to its permanent collection) is mostly closed as it gears up for a massive redesign due to be completed in 2024, but you’ll still find about a half-dozen sizable special exhibitions located in the Resnick Pavilion and BCAM.
As for the art itself, you’ll see contemporary titans like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and local artist Ed Ruscha in BCAM. The rest of its permanent collection is currently in flux due to construction, but expect to see it temporarily transition into the museum’s western campus: 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 Pavilion for Japanese Art, all manner of delightful pieces from the Far East.
5905 Wilshire Blvd
|Price:||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. L.A. County Residents: Free weekdays after 3pm.|
|Opening hours:||Mon, Tue, Thu 11am–5 pm; Fri 11 am–8 pm; Sat, Sun 10am–7 pm; closed Wed|
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Betye Saar: “Call and Response”
LACMA links preliminary sketches and finished works from the under-recognized SoCal artist, whose found object assemblage pieces address issues of race, gender and spirituality. Though not necessarily a retrospective, the single-room exhibition examines...Mixed media Until Sunday April 5 2020
“Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art”
See a cultural reverence for lions, dogs, horses, oxen, cats, fish, insects, birds, dragons and phoenixes rendered in a range of mediums from ancient 6th-century clay sculptures to contemporary works. Like a zoo of Japanese art, this exhibition is brimming...Sculpture Until Sunday December 8 2019
A co-presentation with New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA takes a first-ever mid-career look at the Ethiopian-American artist’s striking large-scale abstractions, with 35 paintings and 40 works on paper. Active since the mid-’90s, Mehretu...Painting Until Sunday May 17 2020
“The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China”
Exhibition organizer Wu Hung, of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum, has categorized the creators at the center of “The Allure of Matter” as “material artists,” and, well, that’s a pretty to-the-point description: The 21 featured artists all employ...Contemporary art Until Sunday January 5 2020
Thomas Joshua Cooper: ‘The World’s Edge’
This exhibition features 65 large-scale and 75 smaller black-and-white photos of stunning, remote locations along the Atlantic Ocean. The only photographer to craft images at both the North and South Pole, Cooper’s decades-long project has brought him...Photography Until Sunday February 2 2020