The (Magnificent!) Getty Center

Many years of visits are represented here.

..my favorites, Walking Flower…

..my favorites, Walking Flower Fernand Léger (French, 1881-1955) , and The Jousters Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), telephoto from the same spot as the picture above.

Wait though, Hip Girl and Frog Boy are my favorites. And That Profile, also my favorite. And the Rebar Trees…

My special sculpture is…

My special sculpture is in the distance, but actually everything up here at the Getty Center is special.

There are a number of wonderful exhibits at the moment so if you are thinking about going you might as well go now.

The Getty Center Museum….

The Getty Center Museum. It’s a gift to Our Town, funded by the The Getty Trust whose mission extends far beyond this museum to include education, research, conservation institutes, and of course the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Admission is always free. Parking is $15 per car but you are welcome to walk in from the bus stop.

When the Getty Center opened in December 1997 the parking fee was $5 which made coming to the Getty feel positively free. Year by year the rates went up and up and now, especially for one person, it doesn’t feel so free anymore, that you’d not give a second thought to pop up just to enjoy a cup of coffee. But still SO worth it.

I have to leave this picture here because it’s from the beginning.

From the plaza at…

From the plaza at the tram station. The statue came many years after the opening and is an excellent addition. With her arrival came a guard who now patrols the area.

She’s Aristide Maillol’s Air.

Check her out. She…

Check her out. She is balanced entirely on her hip and she’s doing really really hard leg lifts.

Something new is on the scene – a naked little boy holding a frog by its leg, made of painted fiberglass, by Charles Ray and called ‘Boy with Frog’. Hi cutie.

I just read that he’s going to be leaving in January 2012, just in time for me to have gotten used to having him around.

Oh goodie, it’s August…

Oh goodie, it’s August 2012 and Frog Boy is still here. Maybe he’s going to be ours.

Air is still here too, you just can’t see her in this picture.

These bowls are filled with aromatics and face down into the tram area. When the tram doors open you are immediately met with the unique combination of sights and smells, transported really, such that you are not in daily life anymore but are at The Getty.

You know that funky…

You know that funky sculpture prominently featured as you get off the tram? The one that everyone hates?

I like it. Because it seems somehow brave, standing there all huge and a-kimbo and the object of such scorn. It makes nice shapes, and the engineering is cool, and it’s been there from the beginning and we’d miss it if it was gone.

Martin Puryear “That Profile,” commissioned for the site in 1999. You can see it this way if you are walking up instead of taking the tram.

The architect Richard Meier…

The architect Richard Meier chose this lilac color, according to the same tour guide, on a whim. This is the only colored surface I can think of now. The umbrellas shade one of the many concession stands located around the grounds.

From standing in virtually…

From standing in virtually the same spot as the picture above a few degrees different in orientation, from a different day, and showing a different view altogether. So far, in the numberless visits that make up this collection no two photos have turned out the same.

The quality of the…

The quality of the permanent art collection at the Getty Center is a point of some contention. There are those who find it overpriced, unfocused and pedestrian. And even, say some, boring.

But you can walk up any time and go in for free or pay five bucks for a car load of people and have an entirely splendid day. Any time you want to, just go on up. What’s to complain?

2011 UPDATE: it’s been many years now and no one is saying boring anymore. Also parking is up to fifteen bucks!

2019 UPDATE: Twenty Dollars to park. Not so free. I could probably get a lyft ride back and forth for less than that.

Check out these two…

Check out these two faces. It’s fantastic!

There are many free tours available throughout the day and all are well worth the time if you’re in the mood to shuffle along with a group. The guides, all volunteers, have a lot of freedom to choose their own program so you can go again and again and always get a different perspective.

Here’s a link to the Tours and Gallery Talks.

The J. Paul Getty…

The J. Paul Getty Trust commissioned Robert Irwin’s Central Garden as a work of art, which Irwin himself described as “a sculpture in the form of a garden aspiring to be art.”

Here’s the link about The Garden. This is just a promotional pitch from the Getty’s own website and doesn’t have any of the flavor of the actual drama of the garden’s concept and construction.

The building of the museum and the garden was the longest running soap opera in Hollywood. These men, architect Richard Meier and artist Robert Irwin, in different times, would have killed each other in a duel. Of this there is no one with a shred of doubt.

We also walked through…

We also walked through the very large Herb Ritts photography show which I was glad for because although I might like a few of them I can say with certainty that I’m not really a fan.

The garden was closed February – May for ‘hardscape improvements’. Everything looked basically the same with the plantings in great shape.

The garden path in…

The garden path in winter.

My favorite garden story is about how this path came to be as it is, and you won’t be finding this story on their website!

Somewhere along the line, well into the process I understand, some government inspector told Robert Irwin his design was not ADA compliant and he would have to provide wheelchair ramps from the museum into the garden.

Our Mr Irwin was not about to disfigure his art project to lay down some extraneous ramps so he decided construction could just jolly well wait, he would redo the whole concept of the access thing altogether. His design was going to be his design and he was not going to just stick a ramp in it.

From this display of arrogant stubbornness came one of my favorite reasons to return often.

In winter you can…

In winter you can see the garden path through the bare trees.

Go early, before they open even. Then as you stand between the rebar trees and the entrance to the garden path, close your eyes and just listen and breathe and do some zen-ish mind calming exercise and then you are ready to walk down the garden path.

The walk is really I think more about listening than about looking and that’s why crowds are so disruptive to the experience. You’ll want to hear your footsteps sound on the various surfaces and how the sound of the water reflects the changing shape of the rocks and hear the plants shimmering in relation to each other. Even the difference in sound as you move in and out of the trees is quite purposeful.

Entering from a different…

Entering from a different direction and a first sighting of the iconic rebar bougainvillea trees.

All these fabulous lawns are there for the using. You can enjoy a picnic, watch the kids roll themselves stupid, or just sit and take the sun.

I’ve been complaining about…

I’ve been complaining about this guy ever since she first appeared a while back. Now they’ve got the grasses growing around her, and flowers, and I’ve entirely softened. She looks like she’s at home there now and I welcome her to stay. Funny how that is.

Walking Flower from Fernand Leger.

(Now she’s gone! and I miss her! But wait, Yay! She’s back, in the sculpture garden with The Jousters!)

Geometry. I hope…

Geometry. I hope you’ll have time to enjoy the garden early before the crowds become a factor.

The metalwork that surrounds this garden is an art project in itself. A Serra of the first order.

In real life the…

In real life the real picture (this is a small section) is total eye candy. Everyone has a quickening intake of breath followed by a peppermint sugar rush when first catching sight and it is a favorite to see again and to show your friends who are here for the first time.

You can get yourself…

You can get yourself some good eats at the Getty.

The premium restaurant (The Restaurant) is right up there with LA fine dining establishments including Cal-Trendy yet well prepared food and a well respected wine list.

The self service cafe is more museum standard but even at that the quality and selection of the food and the expansive, scenic location make it a most comfortable spot for lunch. This shot is out the back door of the cafe.

I was looking for…

I was looking for some information on the siting of the Getty. I remember commuting down the 405, lurching and jerking over-the-hill watching the buildings go up, for maybe TEN YEARS. It took a very long time and the story is very interesting but… I Forget.

A thing I do…

A thing I do now by habit, when scanning LA Weekly looking for the haps, I check what’s what up at the Getty. The exhibitions can be fantastic and they also have classes and performances.

Just another plaza in…

Just another plaza in paradise.

I noticed in August 2006 that this plaza is getting redesigned into a sculpture garden and these plants are gone! We’ll have to check back to see how it turns out. Always changing, never twice the same.

In mid 2007 the plants were indeed gone and the sculpture in. It’s all black marble against the blazingly bright outside, and I haven’t caught a decent shot yet.

Here’s one, a picture…

Here’s one, a picture of the center piece in the ‘new’ sculpture garden. I really liked it with the plants but, as is the way of things, I like it now too.

Delusions of Grandeur (Bronze) 1967; Rene Magritte (Belgian) 1898-1967

Wow. I just…

Wow. I just got one snap off before the guard told me this was one of the on-loan pictures (on loan from Forest Lawn(!)) and no photos allowed. Isn’t it magnificent.

A guide is discussing…

A guide is discussing this picture and the crowd is entirely engrossed in her words, listening carefully, jockeying for position to see better, and asking thoughtful engaged questions.

They’ll probably leave having had a personal experience with a picture and isn’t that basically the whole point.

I took this photo…

I took this photo and the next two when on a visit with my nine month old grandbaby and her nine month old friend (yes and their moms came too!)

So my mind was taken up with all-babies-all-the-time.

Centuries apart. Someday…

Centuries apart. Someday someday I WILL go to the museum with this story in mind and get info on the work – dates, artist etc..

It’s amazing wonderful engrossing touching just to be there and I think it’s even more of all that when you know what you’re looking at!

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