Saturday, January 31, 2015

Walking LA - The Getty Museum

Plaza at the Getty Museum
It might not be fair to include the Getty Museum in a series call "Walking LA." It sits way out in Brentwood, past the campus of UCLA. But visiting a museum always means getting up off your butt and walking, so here it is.

The Getty Museum opened in 1997. It is a beautiful campus sitting up on a hill over looking the whole Los Angeles metro area.It was design by architect Richard Meier, and it one of the most beautiful museums I have ever seen, incorporating architecture, art and gardens. The buildings themselves are worth the trip.

Looking at the main building from the train plaza

The collection at the Getty spans European and Asian art from over the past 2000 or so years. Of course they have an excellent collection of Impressionist art (my favorite) including:

Irises - van Gogh

Man the a Hoe - Millet

 The Museum also has wonderful gardens to walk in:

 As I said, the Getty sits up on a hillside overlooking the whole LA basin:

Looking out over Malibu to the Pacific

The edge of the Santa Monica Mountains

The San Gabriel Mountains are the front range with the snow capped San Bernadino Mountains in the distance

The 405 coming from "The Valley"

Studio City with Beverly Hills to the left

Looking towards Hollywood

The 405 going south to the airport and beyond
The Getty Museum is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10-5 (Saturdays until 9). The admission is FREE!!!. There is a $15 charge to park your car in the garage at the bottom of the hill (you take a train up to the museum). Your parking fee also gives you admission to the Getty Villa in Mailbu to see the Classics collection.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Walking LA - LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits

Entrance Plaza to LACMA

If you are going to spend a day walking in the Fairfax district head south to Wilshire Ave for a great art museum. In addition its contributions to the performing arts Los Angeles is also home to the largest art museum in the Western United States – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Located on Wilshire Blvd just east of Fairfax Ave. LACMA is home to art works that span the globe and date from ancient times to a 4 story collection of contemporary art.

Cliff Dwellers by George Bellows

LACMA opened in 1961 in Exhibition Park near the USC campus, but moved in 1965 to its current home. Originally 3 buildings, the LACMA campus now contain 7 buildings and 2 large outdoor spaces bursting with art. The picture above is the canopy covering the LA Times Central Court, which sits between the 3 main buildings on the campus and houses a café with outdoor seating and a ticket booth for entry and events.

The Times Central Court at LACMA

The Ahmenson Building

Broad Contemporary Art Museum

Among the collections at the museum are a wonderful Modern Art collection with about 15 Picasso's, several Modigliani’s and other Impressionist and Expressionist artists. There is also an extensive Asian art collection with a whole building dedicated to the art of Japan.

Into the Woods at Giverney - Claude Monet

Nymphaes by Claude Monet

 LACMA also hosts many special exhibits. While I was there 3 special shows were present – A large collection of Samurai Armor and Weaponry; An exhibit of works by the Hudson River School and an exhibit on German Cinema of the 1920’s.

LACMA also is home to two of my favorite outdoor and interactive pieces of art – Urban Lights:

And Levitated Mass:

Sharing a park with LACMA is the PAGE Museum and the LA Brea Tar Pits. Famous for trapping hundreds of prehistoric mammals, The La Brea Tar Pits are an area where underground asphalt has pushed its way up to the surface. The biggest pit:

Is actually filled with water, but you can see the methane bubbling (and sometimes gushing) to the surface.

There are also working excavation pits where you can observe paleontologists uncovering bones.

Note it you visit – unlike most museums LACMA is OPEN ON MONDAY and CLOSED ON WEDNESDAY. The Page Museum is open 361 days a year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Walking LA - Fairfax District

Christmas on the streets of West Hollywood
As I said in my last blog piece, there are actually some neighborhoods that are worth walking in LA. One of them is Fairfax Village (map). This area was settled in the 1920/1930's and has been the heart of LA's Jewish community since then.

This area is filled with very typical LA houses and bungalows.

Bungalow with a classic out front

Mission style

A grapefruit tree with humongo fruit
One of the main shopping streets is Melrose Ave.One parking lot on Melrose had these wonderful examples of street art:

I really love this view from behind the famous sign
If you are out for a walk in the morning one place to stop for a bite is the Blu Jam Cafe. They have fantastic breakfasts and brunch. I highly recommend the blueberry pancakes.

South of Melrose, the size of the lots and houses increase:

South of Beverley Ave are two shopping icons of central LA - The Grove and The Fairfax Farmer's Market.

The Grove is a high end shopping mall. It is very nicely decorated, with a pond complete with dancing fountain:

The Grove contains several expensive restaurants and shopping that ranges from Forever 21 to A&F. (see here) The real draw for me is the dancing fountain. Every hour the music comes on the fountain in the middle of the pond takes off.

Next to the Grove is the Fairfax Farmers Market. (see here)
 In the 1880's this land was a dairy farm owned by A.F. Gilmore.While looking for water to expand his herd he struck oil (can you say "the original Beverly Hillbilly"). By the early 1900's the city of LA had expanded to include  this land, and large oil derricks were outlawed. By the 1930's new investors had bought the land and wanted to develop it. they built Gilmore Stadium for football and midget car racing and Gilmore field for baseball. And they built some permanent sheds to attract local farmers to come and sell their produce.

Today the stadia are gone and the open fields have been turned into parking, but the market is still there. There are restaurants offering all different cuisines, open fruit stands and shops selling everything from stickers to spices to hats. tables are arranged throughout the market. Who knows, you might see a star (I once saw Sandra Bullock there).

 Contrary to what is often believed, Los Angeles is not always vapid wasteland of cars and roads. There are many places that you can and should park the car, get out and walk.