On Saturday my boyfriend and I took advantage of the free admissions to some major museums. We made a day trip to two art museums: the LACMA and the Hammer Museum. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to live close enough to a major metropolitan. The work of classic and modern figures like Matisse, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Braque, Warhol, and more are just a drive away. And featured at the LACMA, works by Elaine Lustig Cohen, which made my designer heart flutter.
The Hammer Museum is always free, so on a day when you can go elsewhere for free which usually costs, it’s lax and devoid of congestion. I’ve been to the LACMA several times, but this was my first time ever at the Hammer Museum. When one usually thinks art museum, one thinks structured, grandiose, and somewhat serious. This place feels entirely different. I walked up to the front desk, got my stickers, and as the person pointed to open exhibits on the map, she added, “Don’t forget to check out our lounge and ping pong area up stairs.” We walked up and in the courtyard were these huge chairs and people laughing as they gripped the sides and spun around. Functional and playful!
Here’s a video of the functional art pieces in action:
At the risk of admitting puerile pleasures, I will say that the spinny chairs and ping pong break really added to my experience. I also couldn’t believe my luck at their permanent collection. I feasted my eyes on art by French and European greats. Josh’s favorites were Gustave Moreau’s King David (1878) and Salomé Dancing before Herod (1876).
Talk about visual opulence. On a more contemporary note, I loved Catherine Opie’s portraiture. Her dramatic lighting is so painterly and visceral. What is not subtract by shadow is large, detailed, and impacting.
LACMA was PACKED. Like, nearly sweltering as the A/C couldn’t keep up with the droves of art amateurs and enthusiasts alike. We weaved through much of it as quickly but efficiently as possible while taking breathers outside to cool down and get away from crowds. To my dismay, the Rain Room was sold out for the day. The highlight of LACMA for me was their graphic design exhibit on Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen. And revisiting pieces I always anticipate each time. In the contemporary section, we both had to point Warhol’s iconic Campbell soup painting and the Litchenstein’s work. Josh enjoyed the Egyptian art and lavish religious art/sculpture best. We have very different preferences in art appreciation and that worked out well for such an impressive amount of work in one museum. We both pointed out different things to each other.
I know he would have enjoyed our outing either way, but when I mentioned getting Dim Sum before tackling the sites, I think that sealed the deal. 😉