LA Art Museums – Part One

While in LA last month, we visited several art museums Since moving north. we miss the museums we love in LA and savor any opportunities to visit then when we go south. We started on Thursday afternoon after our morning flight by visiting the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach. It was a beautiful day to drive down Highway 1 through the Orange County beach towns. We had never visited that museum although we are anticipating an upcoming exhibition of Richard Diebenkorn next year. What we found was a small building completely filled with an exhibit of new developments in contemporary art – a time-wasting compilation of all the tedious ideas we suffered through and tried to appreciate from the 60’s , things like TV sets playing something, video projectors, objects lying on the floor and a bevy of signs outside the building. It took about 30 minutes to determine that nothing of interest was included and since no real art was in evidence, we were back in the car very quickly and back to our hotel in Manhattan Beach.

Friday, I had my tax appointment in Hollywood but my wife used the time to visit LACMA. She dropped me off and then when I finished with the taxes we returned to the museum The museum continues to evolve, having rejected an revolutionary remodel being proposed in 2004 with a more evolutionary one. There is nothing lovely about the museum complex, however many times they rework it and the new building is just one more odd thing artfully imposed into the mix. The new building (the Broad Contemporary Art Museum) was designed by Renzo Piano. The exhibition spaces seemed fine. You can’t actually look at the museum because of construction around it. What impressed me most is the similarity to the IKEA store in Carson which you enter via a very long escalator to the top where you begin your explorations. Somehow that seemed odd because there was no real reason to start at the top and once you were in there was no other direction provided. You just wander aimlessly like your would in any other museum. By the time we explored the new museum, there wasn’t much time left so we cut off a visit to my favorite Hockney in the Art of the Americas building. To be continued.

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