The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is located on a section of Wilshire Blvd known as the Miracle Mile and Museum Row. It holds over 150,000 works of art spanning from ancient times to the present. LACMA is the largest art museum in the Western United States.
LACMA was once part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. In 1961 it was established as a museum at its current location. When the museum moved into the Miracle Mile complex, it was the largest new museum to be built in the United States since the National Gallery of Art.
The LACMA consists of three buildings: the Ahmanson Building, the Bing Center and the Frances and Armand Hammer Building. Initially there were reflecting pools surrounding the buildings, but tar from the La Brea Tar Pits next to it began seeping into the pools and they had to be filled in.
LACMA’s exhibits, activities and events are far too numerous to name them all here. Suffice it to say that with it being the largest art museum in the Western United States, it contains more art treasures than you will be able to feast your eyes on in one day.
Like most all art museums and galleries, some of the art has been controversial. An example is the Back Street Dodge ’38 sculpture by Edward Kienholz. It portrayed a couple making love in the back seat of a 1338 Dodge. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors tried to ban it as pornographic and threatened to withhold financing for LACMA if the exhibit was not removed. A compromise was reached where the sculpture’s car door would remain closed and guarded… to be opened only on the request of a patron over 18 years old and with no children present in the gallery. Of course the controversy generated huge lines of people waiting to see the exhibit on opening day.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art also has a number of permanent exhibits on the grounds and inside. The most notable example is the world famous Urban Light Sculpture by artist Chris Burden that was installed in 2008.
If you’re visiting Los Angeles, you will find several other attractions within walking distance of LACMA. These include the La Brea Tar Pits immediately to the west of the museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum across the street from it. Also on the same corner is the famous Johnie’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop. You won’t be able to go inside, it has been closed for some years, but you can see in the windows. It will most likely look quite familiar to you. You’ve probably seen it in more than one movie.
For more information on programs, visit the LACMA website. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 11 am–5 pm
Friday: 11 am–8 pm
Saturday, Sunday: 10 am–7 pm
Closed Wednesdays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
Admission ranges from $20 to $25 for adults with discounts for seniors and students. Under 17 admission is free.