Getty Museum: Los Angeles - Poplar Travels
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Aug 20 2014

The Getty Museum: Los Angeles

It took us a while to pull away from the marvel that is the Getty Museum itself and finally venture inside to see the collection. The travertine giant is so massive and so beautiful, you could spend your entire visit outdoors exploring the museum gardens and sculpture and probably get your fill of spectacle. There are even fossilized leaves hidden in the rock.

The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum

If you want to get really nerdy (we are talking about a museum and cultural research institution here) you can read all about how said travertine came to be on the conservation center’s website.

Getty Museum

Our outside and inside wandering combined took 6 hours of our day and we only made it through a couple exhibitions. Needless to say, the Getty Center is not meant to be thoroughly explored in one visit. Grab a map at the information desk (once you’ve stopped staring in awe) and pick out a few things about which you are most excited to make a more manageable plan. Most importantly, don’t stress about seeing everything. If you are thrilled by walking through the gardens, don’t worry that you didn’t make it through the 17th century furniture gallery, and vice versa.

The Getty Museum

Our must-sees were the “The Scandalous Art of James Ensor” (through Sept. 7, 2014) and the photography gallery which happened to have “Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit” on display. We took a tour through James Ensor, which didn’t prove to be much more informative than the labels alone, but it was nice to have the option of discussion. The exhibition traced Ensor’s career through early rejection, rebellion and later sarcastic success. His caricatures of politicians and other artists (who rejected him) were filled with both body humor and gruesome demons. There was so much going on in his drawings and paintings that it kind of reminded me of an R-rated “I Spy” book. They were interesting, but a little overwhelming so I wish our tour guide had picked out more of the specific details.

Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, 1888 by James Ensor. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM.

Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, 1888 by James Ensor. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM.

Black and white photography is always captivating to me so I’m pretty biased towards the Minor White exhibition, but I really think it was amazig. The labels were both informative and interpretive while still easy to comprehend. I couldn’t help but notice the impeccable design of this exhibition as well. The grey and red walls highlighted the different sections of his career (early, middle, late) and were a useful visual aide to frame his photographic series.

Minor White

Tom Murphy, San Francisco, 1948 by Minor White. © Trustees of Princeton University. The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum, bequest of Minor White.

Minor White 2

Minor White Top: Cabbage Hill, Oregon (Grande Ronde Valley), 1941by Minor White © Trustees of Princeton University. The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum, bequest of Minor White Bottom: Essence of Boat, Lanesville, Massachusetts, 1967 by Minor White. Reproduced with permission of the Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum. © Trustees of Princeton University. Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser.

Quick Tips:

  • Hours: Tuesday–Friday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays
  • Admission is free! Just pay to park: $15 per car; $10 after 5pm on Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week.
  • You won’t see it all in one day
  • Pick up an event schedule. There are lots of exhibition tours, movies and outdoor events throughout the day.
  • Visit the main cafe (not the garden terrace Cafe)
  • Check the weather – you’ll want a clear day to enjoy the museum grounds (But I guess it never rains in southern California anyway, right?)


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Evanne Allen

Evanne co-founded Poplar Travels after quitting her job in Washington, D.C. She got itchy feet at a young age and has never lost the urge to explore the planet. A previous museum employee, she is apt to drag travel partners into several cultural institutions anywhere she goes. She wishes she could speak every language and loves meeting new people.

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