A Saturday Visit to LACMA and Levitated Mass

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With Julia’s foot still giving her issues and a forecast of thunderstorms this weekend, we decided to avoid the mountains and head to the city. As much as Los Angeles has to offer by way of culture and entertainment, I usually do my best to avoid it. The crowds and traffic were something I put up with years ago when a job forced me into the city’s madness, but I try to stay away these days. Luckily, it’s only 40 miles away, and can be reached without sitting in two hours of traffic if we leave at the right times on the weekend.

For Saturday, we made our way out to LACMA, which is located right next to the La Brea Tar pits. Our initial plan was to go and see the new Broad Museum of contemporary art in downtown LA, but we realized too late that ticket reservations were required. We decided to save that one for another time, and went to LACMA, a museum that lists Eli Broad as a primary benefactor.  It turned out to be a great decision, as Julia and I hadn’t visited LACMA for a few years. My last visit was in 2011 to see the Tim Burton exhibit. I’m not much of an art critic, but I do have a great appreciation for it.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
First sight Of LACMA from the parking lot
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Heading to the ticket office

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. There is a parking lot adjacent to the museum with a flat daily rate of $14. You can find more information about hours and ticket prices on the Visit Page.

After buying our tickets, our first top was to the Ahmanson building to see the Rifkind  Gallery for German Expressionism and Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic.

The time between WWI and WWII in Germany is incredibly interesting from a historic perspective. To see the story told through art, brought things to a whole new light. The Weimar Republic was the representative democracy that replaced the German Empire in 1919. I’m sure you all know how that ended up, and how it influenced the rise to power of Adolph Hitler. What I wasn’t aware of is how the German people felt about the new cultural changes in the early years of the republic, and the ways they chose to express those views through art. A lot of art was confiscated and destroyed, but that which remains tells a captivating story.

If you visit LACMA to see art from this time period, pay special notice to Christian Schad and Otto Dix. We really loved their work.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
German Weimar Republic

We spent quite a bit of time with the art of the Weimar Republic. After reaching the end of the exhibit, we began to explore a little more of the Ahmanson building. Level two has a few nice pieces of modern art. We didn’t spend as much time here, as we were more interested in getting to the art of the ancient world and Islamic art, on levels 3 and 4.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Untitled (Comb) by Vija Celmins
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Giant Pool Balls by Claes Oldenburg

The German art of the Weimar Republic was pretty incredible to see, but my favorite exhibitions on the day came from Art of the Americas and Southeast Asian Art. The Art of the Americas exhibit is in a beautiful wooden room that makes the presentation of artifacts even more engrossing. My favorite piece was the ‘Skull with Mosaic Inlay’ from Mexico, dated 1400-1521.

The Southeast Asian art “collection consists of paintings, sculptures, and decorative art from India, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Bronze and Iron Age objects from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand are on view along with Buddhist and Hindu sculpture from all periods and regions. The collection is especially notable for its early Tibetan and Nepalese paintings, sculpture, furniture, and decorative arts” (LACMA, 2015). Of all the exhibits I saw on Saturday, this one I would consider a “must see” and has given me a new found desire to travel to Southeast Asia.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Beautiful Room
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Beautiful Turquoise Skull Inlay

After exploring the Ahmanson and Hammer buildings, we made our way outside to see Levitated Mass, a boulder sculpture by Michael Heizer. Levitated mass is a 340 ton boulder suspended above a concrete walkway on the campus of LACMA. Julia and I were both very excited to see Levitated Mass and came in with great expectations. Maybe we’ve spend too much time in the outdoors, looking a massive mountains, because Levitated Mass wasn’t all that massive. It just look like an ordinary rock over a tunneled walkway. I try not to be too critical of things, but this boulder wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if you saw it along a trail on a hike. Nonetheless, the presentation and mounting is pretty cool, and very pleasing to the eyes.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Standing Near The Mass
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass

After seeing Levitated Mass we made our way to the shaded pavilion in front of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (it’s just a building at LACMA and not to be confused with the new museum in downtown LA). Next to the Broad wing is the Resnick Pavilion. LACMA was showing a special Frank Gehry exhibit on Saturday in the building, but it was an additional $15, and Julia and I didn’t have much of an interest in seeing it. Instead, we took about 30 minutes to enjoy the shade and rest. Having grown used to spending weekends hiking, I didn’t think a museum visit would wear me out. I was wrong!

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Before Heading Outside

After our break we visited the 3 levels of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum. One of my favorite pieces in the Broad building was a mechanical city installation by Chris Burden, who is also the artist behind the iconic LACMA entrance called Urban Light. Chris Burden just passed away in May, so it was cool to see one of his last installations.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Chris Burden Piece
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Band On Level 1
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
I Love This Elevator

I love stepping out on the patio of the third floor of the Broad building. From this view, you can see out to the Hollywood sign and to Griffith Observatory.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory

After leaving the Broad Contemporary Art Museum building, we made our final stop for the day at the Pavillion for Japanese Art. After being immersed in predominantly Western Art, it was nice to finish with some beautiful expressions from the East.

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Pavillion For Japanese Art
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
Japanese Art Building

After LACMA, we went to Olympic Noodle for some great Korean food. I got the chicken and Julia got red bean. It was delicious!

LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
LACMA Los Angeles Levitated Mass
All done!


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