In what was my first OFFICIAL visit to LA I can say that I was definitely IMPRESSED with both the LACMA and the Getty museums. Both institutions have been mentioned throughout my studies and to get to experience them in person was well worth the visits.
Being more partial to art of the contemporary persuasion I had an especially great time at the LACMA. The James Turrell Retrospective (see image above) in particular was a HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended), something that I strongly recommend to anyone living in the area or heading out that way – it runs through April 6th. The works span Turrell’s lengthy career, from early works all the way through plans for a yet-to-be-executed project at the Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona. The temporal and spatial affects of Turrell’s works can hardly be described in words, one really must be there in person to engage with them. In order to experience the energy and power emanating from these works, immersion is vital and the effects are unforgettable.
The Getty Museum (see image above) is one of the most beautiful institutions I’ve visited to date. High up on a hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles, you definitely gain a sense of the extreme wealth of the museum (J.Paul Getty left no shortage of cash). Like the LACMA it’s split up into different buildings housing different styles of art throughout various periods in history. The highlight for me here was Hearsay of the Soul, a 5 channel video installation created by one of my favorite directors, Werner Herzog (see image below). The film is a compilation of etchings by Dutch artist Hercules Segers complimented by the music of composer/cellist Ernst Reijseger (also Dutch). I found this piece to be both unsettling and beautiful, capturing the sublime through the coupling of the etchings and the pure emotive power of Reijseger as he played. It’s as if he was translating the artworks through his music. This was for me, definitely a must see!
If you have the opportunity to get to LA and visit these institutions, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
In the words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now you know”…so go!