LACMA: A Museum for Everyone

The museum with the trendy vintage street lamps outside, has treasures just as lit inside.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been in existence for 108 wonderful years. It is hard to believe that a spot, so well known for its trendy photo ops, has been around since 1910. Located on Wilshire Boulevard, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, nicely abbreviated as LACMA, is situated on Museum Row. It historically resides on The Miracle Mile next to fellow art houses like the Petersen Automotive Museum-which is pretty eye-catching due to its exceptional and memorable exterior architecture. Unmissable itself, LACMA is almost always recallable to the public’s mind for being the museum that everyone takes pictures at under the streetlamp installation. And although the art piece, “Urban Light”, created by UCI alum Chris Burden (Zot Zot Zot!), is a landmark to the museum and the city of Los Angeles itself, it is only a small subset of what LACMA has to offer. 

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I myself hold a membership to the museum. Having the opportunity to flash my membership screen on my phone to the employees behind the ticket window and waltz into the Ahmanson Building like I own the place, has made me cognizant of how lucky I am to get to spend so much time inside the museum. Any tourist can hang outside the buildings and take a photo with the lamps or pose under the massive 340 ton boulder balancing between two massive pillars of concrete. And all of that makes for some very cool photos to post on Instagram, but there is so much magic to witness inside the buildings. LACMA houses art created by the world’s most renowned artists from Degas to Picasso. It also displays pieces by men and women you have never heard of before. That is one of the highlights of LACMA, it simultaneously showcases humanity’s most known and most unheard of artists all under the same roof. This allows visitors to get a taste of what they likely came for and a bite of something they did not even know was on the menu.

One of my favorite pieces at LACMA, the Fantasy Bust by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse

PC: Christine Catlett

A bust from the French Revolution and an urn from Ancient Greece’s final resting place can be found mere feet apart from each other on the third floor of the Ahmanson building, despite its conception heralding across different moments in time. There is something wild and wonderful to be felt by the museum goer as he or she can walk through centuries of human history all through a single, wooden hallway. Everytime I walk through the European and Ancient art on that floor, without fail, I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to freely walk around and ponder some of mankind’s greatest works. You too, my beautiful reader, can experience this same magic for yourself. Just come inside.

Ahmanson Building, Floor 3,

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LACMA has something for everyone. You like ever-changing exhibits? Head straight for the Resnick Pavilion. You dig modern art? The Second floor of the Ahmanson Building is the place for you. How do you feel about Chinese and Korean art? Because the Hammer building is chock full of some of the most jaw dropping pieces to exist outside of the two Asian countries. And if you are in the mood to walk through a tranquil art environment, the Pavilion for Japanese Art houses a selection of wonderful Hindi statues of figures like Buddha and Shiva that will center you the moment you lay your eyes on them.

Mark Grotjahn’s 50 Kitchens in BCAM across from the Resnick Pavilion

PC: Christine Catlett

There is not an inch of this museum that doesn’t have something for someone. LACMA is an institution that welcomes all people, regardless of age or stage of life. The museum and its staff have curated an environment that promotes rich education of past, present, and future art. The museum wants men, women, and children to experience the lasting effect that art can have on one’s life. I can wholeheartedly say that this museum has expanded my worldview and concept of history. I believe it is important for everyone to get the chance to know a little bit about the art world. Art is simply creations made by our brothers and sisters. These statues and paintings that hang in well lit halls were all once sitting in a studio, barn, or artist’s home. The pieces of art are representative of a time in the past, a fleeting emotion felt towards a situation, a commemoration of a moment. All are human’s work. If people took the time to truly think on that notion, they might have a deeper, newfound appreciation for a piece. That is not to say that we all need to be philosophes and art critics to rate, view, and understand art. A simple pause and reflection of an artist, time period, and/or the work in question can do wonders in helping a viewer gain a better understanding of an art piece. LACMA’s docents and biographies printed on the walls beside an artwork do a fantastic job in guiding the museum goer throughout- what can be seen as an overwhelming amount of- art. In some museums, I have found myself walking into a gallery and being largely floored at the idea of where to start. Thankfully at LACMA, its organization of exhibits has been categorized thoughtfully as to provide a very pleasurable and understanbly cohesive experience for both the museum amatuer and expert alike.

Myself in Grotjahn’s exhibit

PC: Lily Goldstein

The museum is rich in art spanning from all across the globe, but it also gives a proper nod to art created right here in California. Permanent pieces depicting SoCal’s iconic scenery and history are throughout the museum acting as a reminder to all that California’s influence in the art world has not been forgotten. So much local art, especially and naturally from artists centered in Los Angeles County, proudly hangs alongside global masterpieces.

Artist David Hockney’s Mulholland Drive

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If you need to take a break from viewing and interacting with the awesome art, the next best thing to do is head across the street during the afternoon and get some lunch at one of the many food trucks that are always stationed during the week. Some of the best food I have had in LA, have come out of the pick-up windows of those righteous, artistically designed trucks.

Fusion Food Truck, “Epikurean”, across the street of LACMA

PC: Christine Catlett

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a place that has, and will continue to hold a special place in my heart. My membership allows me to bring a friend every time I go. Any of my mates can vouch for me when I say that I am constantly bringing them with me to LACMA to see all the new exhibits that open, or to show them my favorite pieces of art, like The 10th of August, 1792, housed in LACMA’s permanent collection (third floor of the Ahmanson building). There is no better gift to give to a friend, family member, or yourself than a membership to this wonderful place. The gift keeps on giving. There are always new exhibits and events being hosted at the museum. Should you be interested in a membership, of which there is a student membership fellow collegians, you can click right here

Art is made by the people, for the people. Take a pic under the street lamps, grab your food truck tacos from across the street, and then head into the museum; trust me- there is a whole world of art waiting to be explored by you.

My best friend and I at Urban Light out front of LACMA

PC: Christine Catlett