What are the most interesting art galleries in Los Angeles?Aug, 17 2023
Dive into the Canvas: The Broad
Let me tell you about one of the most interesting galleries I've visited, The Broad. It's a contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles that absolutely left me awestruck. It's a relatively new addition to the LA art scene, opened in 2015 but backed by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad's collection of over 2,000 contemporary artworks. Artists featured range from Andy Warhol to Takashi Murakami, so you'll be spoilt for choice! It's like being in a technicolour dream, so much so that I genuinely pondered using the Yayoi Kusama mirrored-room selfie as my new profile photo. Oh, and did I mention the staggeringly beautiful, honeycomb-like building it's housed in? Architecturally, it alone is worth penciling into your itinerary. For a tip, try to visit on weekdays and book tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
Artful Excursion: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Next up on our artistic journey through LA is The Los Angeles County Museum of Art - or LACMA as it's more commonly known. This museum has an incredibly diverse collection, with art from around the globe and throughout the ages. Walking through LACMA feels like taking a stroll through a well-curated wikipedia page of world art. Fun fact, it's the largest art museum in the western United States! The iconic Urban Light installation out front is already Instagram-famous. Vanessa, my wife, was absolutely delighted with the museum. She particularly enjoyed the impressive collection of Latin American art, with vibrant pieces creating a colorful backdrop for our escapade. To round off the day we stopped at Ray's and Stark Bar on the museum campus for a bite to eat - definitely recommended.
A Blast from the Past: The Getty Villa
I've always been a bit of a history buff and The Getty Villa absolutely fed that interest. It's not just an art museum; it's a replication of an ancient Roman country house, located in Malibu. You get a sense of stepping back in time while wandering through the beautiful garden and seeing those centuries-old Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. Passionate lovers of ancient art and architecture need to make this a must-visit destination. The vibrant 'Gods and Goddesses' mural had Vanessa and me star-struck! Also, just an insider tip, the Villa offers fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean - the perfect spot to watch the sunset at the end of your day.
Make it Modern: The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
If you're a fan of works that push the boundaries and challenge norms, you'll find a sanctuary in The Museum of Contemporary Art (or MOCA). This downtown institution boasts an impressive collection of art created after 1940. Imagine being in a place where the walls are screaming vivid tales and the aura is just dripping with creativity. Vanessa, who admittedly has keener artistic taste than I, was deeply moved by the blend of painting, sculpture, photography, and performance art. Don't forget to check their calendar for interesting exhibitions or installations, it tends to have an exciting rotation.
Character and Charm: The Hammer Museum
The Hammer Museum stands out with its unique fusion of classic and modern. It buzzes with a youthful energy, and we absolutely loved the numerous free events, discussions, and performances. The venue, associated with UCLA, is also great for people-watching in its leafy courtyard! And, if you have kids, there’s a collaborative drawing studio that’s just a joy for them! At the end of the day, whether you're an art connoisseur or a curious observer, the Hammer Museum has something for everyone. And it's free!
By the Beach: The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
Another gem in the LA art scene is The Museum of Latin American Art, or MOLAA, located down the coast in Long Beach. This is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. I've always had a soft spot for trend-setters and this place is exactly that. Our visit here made Vanessa recall her study year in Mexico and she was all nostalgic (I just silently thanked the museum for some brownie points!). The vibe here is extremely vibrant and vivifying; it's like Latin America experienced through colours and canvases.
Fancy and French: The Norton Simon Museum
Our last stop takes us a bit outside of Los Angeles to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Named after the businessman Norton Simon, it's actually one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. The European art collection - oh boy, it has some serious heavy hitters, including Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Picasso. For anyone fancying French Impressionists, this is your heaven on earth. The tranquil sculpture garden was like a cherry on top, definitely worth a stroll!
What's stunning about Los Angeles is the wide variety of art galleries. Whether you're into contemporary art, ancient art, or something in between, Los Angeles has something to offer you. Vanessa & I explored these galleries and each one of them had its unique charm that gave us a deeper appreciation of the city's cultural richness. If you ever happen to be in LA, do explore these hubs of art, they'd surely leave you inspired, moved and craving for more!