When you think of L.A. most people’s minds jump to those famous faces of the silver screen, Hollywood blockbusters and reality shows with shots of mansions on hills surrounded by skinny palms reaching toward the ever-present California sunshine. If these images flashed through your mind than you are not mistaken. L.A. is all of those things, but what many don’t realize is that it is also a thriving art mecca. The City of Angels has some of the most prestigious museums, which are home to priceless works of arts and countless hip galleries featuring some of the coolest artists of our time.
So get off the
Hollywood Walk of Fame and let me show you some of the best parts of L.A. not
coming to a theatre near you.
Checking out the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts or LACMA as locals refer it to is a must on your art escapade. The LACMA is not only home to masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh and Andy Warhol but it is also a piece of art in itself. The Levitated Mass, a 456-foot-long path that has a 340-ton granite megalith placed on top, will mesmerize you. The Michael Heizer piece invokes both fear and utter awe as you walk below it. Another epic and Hollywood immortalized installation is Urban Lights, which consists of two hundred and two restored cast iron antique street lamps that look absolutely magical when lit at night. Bonus: LACMA is literally next door to one of the coolest spots in LA: the infamous La Brea Tar Pits. Once upon a prehistoric time, these tricky pits would lure wooly mammoths and ferocious saber tooth tigers to what seemed like a perfectly good watering hole but was in fact a deathtrap. Stroll in the lush green park surrounding the bubbling tar pits, which are fenced in, so the chances of you getting stuck are slim to none. While you’re there, enjoy a delicious ice cream from C+M located on the LACMA campus.
Nestled in buzzing Downtown L.A., the Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA is a perfect way to get out of the heat and experience some fine art. With ever-changing exhibitions, always finding something great is guaranteed. I recently went to check out an exhibition featuring a selection of works by British artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen. Titled Steve McQueen: Drumroll the pieces brought two of my favorite things together: cinema and art. The collection was on display until September 21st but is followed by will be an exhibition of Andy Warhol as well as Latin American artist Magdalena Fernandez. When you’re done being artsy, don’t forget to swing by the trendy Standard hotel and sip on some cocktails by the pool. You won’t be disappointed with the view, vibes or the size of the beer steins you can get at the awesome biergarten.
LAB ARTDedicated to an art form that is slowly gaining more and more recognition in the art world, LAB ART features “Street Art” by some of the most renowned urban artists in the world including: Alec Monopoly, Kai Aspire, Thank You X, Mar and Dog Byte. I am all for the classics, but sometimes you gotta get out of your box and experience some raw creativity that is both fresh and current. This trendy gallery is also extremely fun with heaps of events packed with the scenesters and cool kids of L.A. Plus you can also count on an open bar and some great tunes to get down to because after all this is a gallery with an edge.
LA LouverA staple in the Venice art scene, LA Louver openings are art-world destinations for a surprisingly eclectic crowd comprising of celebrities, art aficionados and the glitterati of Los Angeles. If you make it out to this gallery you will see some of the most cutting edge artists of today. I can also vouch for the fact that the curators at this space really know how to put on a swanky soiree. Look out for their next exhibition opening October 30th of work by Tony Berlant, an enigmatic artist renowned for his brilliantly colored metal collages on panels, which range from literal landscapes to pure abstractions. Since you are in the neighborhood, I recommend also hitting up the bars and restaurants on Rose Avenue. You will be enamored with the adorable shops and the smell of medical Mary J, which looms around the open-air dispensary located on the street.
LACERemember when I told you to get off the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Well guess what I changed my mind. It just so happens that this next gallery is right smack in the middle of that infamous Hollywood spectacle. With exhibitions of international and local artists, the themes are always well thought out and perfectly curated. I really enjoyed their current exhibition titled Beyond Environment, which explores the potent interchange between architecture, land art and performance. Since you are already over here why not get into some of the cheesy L.A. tourist hype and swing on by the Chinese Theater. Don’t be alarmed if you see a superhero brawl or Catwoman taking out her claws and pepper spraying an Ozzy Osbourne impersonator. It’s just the wacky charm of this crazy little place called Hollywood.