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LA County Museum of Art

It’s been rainy and cold here in Los Angeles the last couple of weeks. And when we say “cold”, we mean we have seen people walking around with sweaters and sweatshirts on. That is cold for LA. And while the rain causes some havoc on the roads, we are happy to have a small slice of winter here. This “cold”, rainy weather does get us thinking about the fun INDOOR things to do while in Los Angeles, though. One of our favorites is visiting the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA). Located on Wilshire Boulevard next to the La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA is the largest art museum in the Western United States. It holds more than 150,000 works spanning the history of art.

Established in 1961, LACMA was originally part of The Los Angeles Museum of History in Exposition Park.  It moved to its current location in 1965 as an independent, art focused institution. In fact, at the time it was the second largest museum to be built in the United States (the first being the National Gallery of Art). It consisted of 3 different buildings that patrons could move in and out of and experience a vast collection of works of art.

The museum underwent a massive renovation in 2004 headed by famous architect, Renzo Piano. As a part of a 3 phase project, the first phase was completed in 2008 which added 58,000 square feet of exhibition space to the museum. The phase 2 renovations were stopped in 2010, but an agreement with the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences resurrected plans and now an Academy of Motion Pictures Museum is in the works. Only right, since we are in tinseltown.

LACMA offers a large variety of public programs from film to music to education. There are educational programs for children and adults alike including special exhibits, tours and classes.  Beginning every Spring, LACMA offers live jazz music featuring some of the finest  Jazz musicians of today.  In celebration of film, the museum  presents screen classics, new releases, documentaries, one-of-a-kind events, guest-curated programs, and conversations on film and filmmaking. And if you want a different kind of movie experience (and a chance to get out of the “cold”), every Tuesday you can experience a classic Hollywood movie screened with 35mm film. Talk about time warp.

And, then, of course there are the amazing art exhibitions throughout the year at LACMA. Past exhibitions have included works by Matisse, Renoir and Dali. Current exhibitions feature Christine Corday, James Turrell, Pierre Huyghe and The Art of the Samurai to name a few. There is also permanent art in and around LACMA including the very popular Urban Light Sculpture by Chris Burden.

You can spend all day getting lost in the splendor of the LA County Museum of Art or you can plan just a few hours to see your favorite things – either way, it’s a great way to spend a day. After you are done there, you can come on one of our many tours and experience all that LA has to offer.