The name Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) sounds dull, but this is LA’s anchor arts institution for good reason. Here’s why you should go see it next time you’re in the neighborhood.
First, even from the outside you’ll see the impressive architectural design. Inside, the place harbors some 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to today. There’s so much to see and do there, and if you’re like me and you love SoCal, you’ll want to stay a while. Still reluctant? Check it out on one of the free days (see below).
THE ART: Southern California’s are proud of their LACMA art, but when a museum covers art from ancient to modern times, it isn’t easy to describe what you’ll see there. All I can say is you’ll have fun seeing how things evolved over the centuries. You won’t be alone — the museum attracts nearly a million visitors every year.
Here’s what’s coming up that caught my eye:
- Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium — March 20, 2016–July 31, 2016
- Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s — March 20, 2016–July 31, 2016
- Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 — April 10, 2016–August 21, 2016
- Japanese Prints and Photographs: Paths through Modernity — May 21, 2016–Sep 25, 2016
- Revealing Creation: The Science and Art of Ancient Maya Ceramics — May 21, 2016–ongoing
- Picasso and his Printers — July 23, 2016–November 27, 2016
- 17th Century Chinese Paintings from Tsao Family Collection — Augu 7, 2016–De 4, 2016
- The Serial Impulse at Gemini G.E.L. — September 11, 2016–January 2, 2017
- Beyond Bling: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection — October 2, 2016–February 5, 2017
- Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach — Nov 20, 2016–March 26, 2017
THE ARCHITECTURE: Credit goes to William Pereira. The plant-based art comes from Robert Irwin. The forest of street lamps you see as you enter was put in by the late Chris Burden.
SAVVY TIPS: If you go, here are my suggestions.
- Timing: Go early on free days to beat the crowds, and plan to stay a while to enjoy the museum’s vast collection of art, special exhibitions, music, and film.
- Dining: Hungry LACMA lovers have choices. You can get farm-to-table grub at Ray’s & Stark Bar; grab a salad at the LACMA Cafe, or sip a latte at C+M (Coffee + Milk). Also, ask about upcoming food events and pop-up dinners related to LACMA special exhibits and events.
- Shopping: The LACMA Store has an artfully curated selection of gifts, books, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind Los Angeles-syle designs. You’ll find it on the east end of campus, near the Bing Theater.
- Prioritizing: Don’t have time to visit the entire museum? Go straight to LACMA’s notable Asian art exhibit, housed in part in the Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art.
Savvy Way to Save at LACMA
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art offers several ways to enjoy their exhibitions for free. Second Tuesdays are free each month, LA residents get in free after 5pm on some days, and Target sponsors free Mondays during holidays.
- Free Days: Los Angeles County Museum of Art Free Days — On the second Tuesday of each month, general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions is FREE to all.
- LA Resident Free Days: After 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions is FREE to Los Angeles County residents with proof.
- Target Free Holiday Mondays: Target sponsors several FREE admission days throughout the year at LACMA, featuring special programming and free general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions. More Holiday Mondays to be added throughout the year. More Info (scroll down the page) about specific holidays sponsored by Target.
FYI: For comparison, the regular admission price to LACMA is: Adults $15, Seniors $10, Students $10, Children free. General admission gets you into LACMA’s permanent galleries and to special exhibitions that are not separately ticketed.
Know Before You Go
- Hours: General admission hours: open every day except Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Mon, Tues 12noon – 8pm Wednesday Closed. Thur 12noon – 8pm. Fri 12noon – 9pm. Sat, Sun 11am – 8pm.
- Address: Los Angeles County Museum of Art — 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90036 (centrally located between the beach and downtown Los Angeles. See map below. Here’s the museum’s building map to help you get around campus.
- Parking: Park in the Pritzker Parking Garage on Sixth Street just east of Fairfax Avenue, or in the lot at Wilshire Boulevard and Spaulding Ave ($10 and you can prepay at any Welcome Center. (Pritzker is free after 7 pm.)