Musings on the Getty Center and Museums in General,

Hello, everyone! Jaja the forever tourist is here again!  Today, I wanna share with you guys one of my favorite places to explore in the city, the Getty Center.

A quick history: The Getty Center is one of two campuses of the Getty Museum. The Center is located in Brentwood, Los Angeles, while the Getty Villa is in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. The art collection was started by Jean Paul Getty in his home in Palisades. As the collection grew, he added a wing to his home which became the museum area, displaying his extensive collection. As the collection grew in the now-dubbed Getty Villa, he extended his museum by building another campus. The Villa focuses more on the arts and culture of Greece, Rome, and Etruria, while the Center houses collections from pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American, Asian, and European photographs.

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Tourist guide: It is free to get in both museums, but you do need to pay a parking fee. But here’s the good thing: If you want to visit both museums in one day, just keep your parking ticket as it is valid for both museums on a same-day visit. That’s a $15 parking ticket you pay once for a two-museum visit. On Saturdays, the Center closes later as well, so if you don’t want to rush from one place to another, I suggest visiting the Villa first, and then drive on over to the Center.

PS: Audio tours are free, and they loan you the listening device AND the headphones. Now, I’m sure they clean their headphones, but if you’re a tad germophobic like me, feel free to bring your own headset.

 

Now, I’ve been to the Center a handful of times, and to the Villa zero times. That’s something that needs to be changed. Haha. The reason why I haven’t visited the very beautiful Villa is because I want to view all the collections at the Center. Some exhibits do change which makes multiple trips reasonable.

Once you get out of the parking structure, a tram takes you to the top of the hill where the magnificent structure of the Getty Museum is located. Whenever I step out of that tram, the view never fails to take my breath away. Right in front of the building, you have a wide open area that lets you take in the view from atop that hill. Overlooking the terrace is the valley, the houses and the rolling hills. The facade of the building is simple yet magnanimous. Clear lines, white finish, and a spacious staircase that leads you at the front door. Even before you enter the Center, you are greeted by marvelous sculptures.

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To the right of the front door is the audio tour desk. All you have to do is leave a form of identification with them and they will hand you your free audio tour listening device. I highly recommend this audio tour. There is no set tour you have to follow, you just go to whatever exhibit you want to check out and enter the number you see next to the exhibit piece into the listening device.

Oh, and if you are visiting with children and have a lot of stuff, took public transportation, or just have a lot of belongings with you, don’t let that hinder you from exploring the Center comfortably. To the left of the open-air lobby, you can find a check-in counter for your coats, bags, etc.

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Whenever I visit the Center, I have a little pattern that I follow. Different exhibits are placed in different buildings, a couple are connected to each other by hallways and stairs. I work my way from the exhibits right out front and wok my way back (I follow the map they give out in front). And then I take a break out in the courtyard, have a snack, a drink, get some fresh air, and then resume my tour. I have NEVER completed the exhibits in one day, hence the multiple visits.

When I feel like I’ve satisfied my museum craving, I walk around the expansive and beautiful garden of the Center. After all that, I usually find a shaded area in their grassy area and join the other visitors just chilling on the grass, laying out, doing their think out in the Center garden. Yes, the garden is open to the visitors, even if they visit the Center specifically just to have a picnic there. Outside in the courtyard/garden, you can marvel at the impressive architecture of the Center. Not only that, it offers a wonderful view of the city. I would take this time to just muse on the art pieces that I’ve seen that day. Sometimes, I’d bring my journal or a book with me and just chill the rest of my visit there.

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I’m one of those people that cherish my solitude from time to time. I’m also part of that group who lavishes on alone time in museums. Whenever I go by myself, I really REALLY take my time and check out each art piece. I stand there and admire the art works, ponder on what the artist had in mind, how it makes me feel, what the impact is in today’s society. It’s an experience of the mind and soul that I feel like I cannot undertake if I’m with another person who does not see museums the way that I do. But hey, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy visiting museums with friends because it is also a shared experience. You and your companions get to share your views with each other, discuss about the art work, and simply just share that experience with each other.

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x,
Jaja (IG:@theforevertourist)

Arts and Entertainment Tuesday: LACMA’s Urban Light

Check out the beautiful glow these vintage lights give off along the street of downtown Los Angeles.

 

First off, I wasn’t sure whether to put this post in our Arts and Entertainment Tuesday or in our Wanderlust Wednesday section. But seeing as the Urban Light is an iconic LA landmark, I figured that it would be better off in our Arts section.

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Chris Burden is the artist behind Urban Light, an art installation that is composed of 202 restored vintage street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. Housed just outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the installation has become a staple destination for locals when it comes to photo shoots, music videos, and the like. Visitors from around the country has also made a stop to check out the bright lights that this art work provides along the street of Wilshire Blvd.

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Burden started his collection of street lamps in 2000. He bought his first two lamps at a flea market for the price of $800 each. At first he had no direction as to how he was going to turn this collection into an artwork. He found a contractor and fellow collector to help him acquire more lamps, repainting them, rewiring, etc., basically bringing the lamps back to life.

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The lamps are solar-powered and are turned on at dusk. Most of his lamp collection came from Southern California, some from Portland, OR. There are 17 distinct designs, or looks, and they all depend on which area they came from. Outside the museum, these gorgeous street lamps are arranged in a beautiful pattern on a grid, with the shorter ones on the outside, and towering lights in the middle.

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Burden talked to several possible locations for the lamps to be housed, sometimes even sending a small set to different locations, but he much preferred to keep his collection together. Eventually, LACMA’s director that time, Michael Govan, saw the lights in Burden’s studio and thought that the collection would be a perfect fit at the entrance of the museum.

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Since it’s installation in 2008, Urban Light’s popularity has soared, and  rapidly became a much photographed location, making it one of many iconic Los Angeles views.

So the next time you guys ever find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, make sure to stop by and pose in front of this beautiful installation of the late Chris Burden in front of LACMA.

-Jaja (@theforevertourist)