Los Angeles – Museums

The Broad – Contemporary Art Gallery

Prepare to gasp when you reach the second-floor gallery of the Broad. I would go back to LA just to revisit it.

The Broad

The Broad (rhymes with road) is on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, down the road from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is a contemporary art museum and houses the collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. It is a stunning building, and if you love architecture and contemporary art, you have to visit. You’ll need about three to fours hours, and although it’s free you have to reserve tickets via the website or wait in the standby line outside. It took about 30 minutes when I was there, although I imagine it will take longer in busier periods. Be there for opening if you want to get into the installations as you can only book inside and they fill up fast as well. Tickets book up fast and are released on the first of every month at noon PT for the following month, so plan ahead.

In the land of the dead, stepping on the tail of a rainbow. Takashi Murakami.
2014, acrylic on canvas
The building itself is stunning – with the honeycomb structure of the exterior shell providing filtered natural daylight in the galleries.

The collection spans every major contemporary artist of the last 60 years, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg.

Jean-Michel Basquiat gallery at the Broad


Los Angeles County Museum of Art – LACMA

My one regret about going to LACMA is that I ran out of time to explore it all. Again, it was another wonderful discovery in LA. Apparently, it is the largest museum in the western United States.

One of five Assyrian bas-reliefs from the ninth-century once decorated the inner walls of the northwest palace of Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883-859 BC). LACMA

According to its website, it has “130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.”

It neighbours the La Brea Tar Pits (which I just walked through) on Wilshire Boulevard and includes the Pavillion of Japanese Art next door. Plan to do all three, although if you want to fully explore LACMA, you could spend a whole day just doing that.

It’s easy to find, as the distinctive Urban Light consisting of 202 restored cast iron antique street lights is directly outside on the forecourt. If you want a photo, prepare to share it with a heap of tourists, but it is a very cool installation and worth making the trip to see it at night if you have the time. Don’t go on a free Saturday as I did because it is packed. Next time, I’ll try and go mid-week.


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