The soft echo of footsteps bounce off the walls of the museum- a sound I know all too well. Being from DC, museums are everywhere and I have come to enjoy the world-class art my city has to offer. Museums can tell you a lot about a city as long as you ask the right questions. Where are the museums located? Are they free? Whose stories are being told? In DC most of the museums are free. However, in LA almost all of the museums having some kind of fee, which I found to be surprising. Check out http://www.welikela.com/ for their monthly list of free museum days, so you can be sure to see great art on a budget.
The first free museum day took me to The Getty. High on a hill, overlooking the rest of the city is where this mammoth art center lies. A graceful tram carries you from the parking lot around the hill to a stunning view of the city. LA fell below me just as rush hour was in full swing.
I wasn't prepared for how large The Getty's campus was there is a sculpture and rose garden in addition to the five main buildings.
My favorite exhibit was Latent Exposures. This photography exhibition showcased multipart photographic works. I was particularly enamored with the photography of William Leavitt seen below, and Liza Ryan.
The next museum I ended up at was the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA. An iconic museum known for its insta worthy Urban Light installation. LACMA struck me by how tactile the museum was. There were so many ways you could physically interact with the space. One of their exhibitions was an exploration of Native Art through Mexico and South America. The standard white box gallery space was shaped to look like red and tan rocks undulating in a cabin.
The final museum was The Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA. It was a rainy day in LA and I was not in the mood. The spell was immediately lifted in Mickalene Thomas’s exhibit Do I Look Like a Lady. Two large screens grabbed my attention, they played on a loop, images of black female performers the audio and visuals no longer in sync. I became joyous seeing the visuals of Josephine Baker with the comedy of Mo'Nique. The setting was similar to my grandmothers living room. Rugs decorated the floor; comfy chairs lounged against a wall; books were scattered across the room. Mickalene’s work centers a complex meditation on black female identity and how they are represented in the media. Something that I am trying to do in my photography project BlackFemmeMagic.
While I do believe D.C. has some of the best museums in this country, I have to say LA has a great scene. The most ludicrous part was that I didn’t even make it to some of the other institutions like the Broad. No trip to LA is complete without viewing the abundant and enriching museum scene.