More about Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the Western United States helps change LA's rep.

Los Angeles often suffers in reputation by comparison to the metropolitan museum scenes of New York and San Francisco, but reputations can be deceiving. People forget that LA culture is more than just botox, traffic and gluten-free options. In fact, among LACMA’s most iconic works are Cliff Dwellers by George Bellows, Wrestlers by Thomas Eakins, and Magdalene with the Smoking Flame by Georges de La Tour (courtesy of Ariel’s collection from the Little Mermaid). However, the spectacular collection is only the first selling point.

LACMA also has a fascinating history. It officially opened in 1965, an offshoot of the much older Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art (now the historic Natural History Museum). One of its primary donors was Bart Lytton, an outrageous character of the fabulously wealthy class whose catchphrase was, “The only -ism for me is narcissism.” Nobody ever said art lovers have to be humble.

You certainly can’t beat the location! LACMA has prime space on “Miracle Mile,” or “Museum Row.” The La Brea Tar Pits are right next door, the Peterson Automotive Museum is down the block, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum is just across the street. Unfortunately, the tar pits caused a bit of trouble when they started bubbling up into the LACMA’s reflections pools, which had to be filled... But come on, where else can you see world-class art, a mammoth being dug up, and hundreds of classic cars all in a few footsteps?

The close proximity to Hollywood also means LACMA has a phenomenal film program. Their affordable double features of beloved classics and obscure art films alike make a wonderful date night. This is easily one of the world’s most star-studded museums, with their annual Art + Film Gala (billed as “The Met Ball of the West”) drawing Kardashians, Olsen twins, and a who’s-who of Hollywood royalty where they get together to celebrate themselves.

The museum has made many cameos as a location on the silver screen and TV.  LACMA appears in I Am Sam (2001), and was destroyed by a scientifically dubious volcanic eruption in Volcano (1997). Chris Burden’s iconic public sculpture Urban Light is a particular favorite of location scouts, serving as a hunting ground for Lady Gaga in American Horror Story: Hotel (2015). 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. LACMA is on Museum Row, adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits (George C. Page Museum).

LACMA was founded in 1961, splitting from the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. Four years later, it moved to the Wilshire Boulevard complex designed by William Pereira. The museum's wealth and collections grew in the 1980s, and it added several buildings beginning in that decade and continuing in subsequent decades. In 2020, four buildings on the campus were demolished to make way for a reconstructed facility designed by Peter Zumthor. His design drew strong community opposition and was lambasted by architectural critics and museum curators, who objected to its reduced gallery space, poor design, and exorbitant costs.

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. It attracts nearly a million visitors annually. It holds more than 150,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. In addition to art exhibits, the museum features film and concert series.

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