Top Art Museums in Los Angeles, California


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Los Angeles is well-known for a plethora of attractions, but Hollywood, Disneyland and temperate weather are not the only thing that draws visitors to the city. The City of Angeles is home to an array of art museums, making it a center for the appreciation of art and culture. Both art lovers and history buffs will appreciate these top five Los Angeles art museums.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles was founded in 1979. The museum is exclusively committed to contemporary art. Its permanent collection extends from Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art to recent works.  MOCA has established one of the country’s most distinguished permanent collections with over 6,800 works. One museum is housed in three separate locations – The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, MOCA Grand Avenue and MOCA Pacific Design Center. Its Grand Avenue location has obtained many accolades from design critics over the years.

Main attraction: The Panza Collection includes 80 influential works of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art – Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Segal, Rothko and Tapies. The Scott D. F. Spiegal Collection focuses on work by established and emerging artists – Basquiat, Salle and Longo.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is situated in Hancock Park in the heart of Los Angeles.  Established in 1910 in Exposition Park, and then in 1961, the LACMA was re- established, but as an independent art-focused institution. The museum has been steadfast to collecting artwork that traverses both history and geography, as well as representing Los Angele’s exceptionally diverse population. Considered the largest art museum in the western United States, it holds a collection of over 120,000 objects dating back to antiquity through present-day. It embodies nearly the entire history of art and includes Asian and Latin American art, spanning from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary works. It also highlights Islamic art and hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.

Main attraction: Shiva as the Lord of Dance, circa 900-1,000, Sculpture from India; David Hockney’s 1980 Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio; Winslow Homer’s 1876 The Cotton Pickers; Alexander Calder’s 1964 Three Quintains (Hello Girls).

The American industrialist, J. Paul Getty “viewed art as a civilizing influence in society” and he believed that art should be accessible to everyone for its educational purposes and enjoyment.  Initially, Getty began donating significant works to the LACMA in 1948. However, in 1953, he undertook in establishing his own museum to provide public access to his personal collection. The J. Paul Getty Museum was opened in 1954 at his Malibu ranch house.  Today the museum has two locations. The Los Angeles location houses European paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and illuminated manuscripts. Getty Villa in Malibu is considered a museum and educational center concentrating on the arts and culture of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. It houses nearly 44,000 artworks with more than 1,200 items on view.

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Main attraction: New acquisitions include Lieven van Lathem’s 1464 Romance of Gillion de Trazegines; Edouard Manet’s 1867 Portrait of Madame Brunet; Francis von Bossuit’s 1690 Susanna and the Elders.

In 1990, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center (AHMACC), better known as the Hammer Museum, opened to the public. At that time, it featured galleries that housed Dr. Armand Hammer’s collections that included old master works, a collection of Honore Daumier works on paper and his contemporaries.  Today, the museum presents exhibitions that relate to historical and contemporary works in the media of the visual arts. The museum also supports cultural understanding and hosts works by underrepresented artists. As a cultural center, the museum aims to be a “pulsating” intellectual forum for the study of cultural, political and social issues.

Main attraction: Hammer Daumier collection – one of the most extensive collections by the 19th century French satirist; Grunwald Center Collection – over 45,000 drawings, prints, photographs, and artist books from the Renaissance to present-day; Murphy Sculpture Garden  – outdoor sculpture garden collection with over 70 sculptures that span over five acres.

Established in 1963, the Fowler Museum at the University of California Los Angeles explores global arts and cultures with an importance on works from Asia, Africa, the Pacifics and the Americas, both in the past and present-day. The museum enriches awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultures, religions and people around the around the globe. It also emphasizes international contemporary artists within the multifaceted framework of culture, social action and politics.

Main attraction: Daniel Family Collection – more than 900 Mexican works including a ceramic Trees of Life, masks and Day of the Dead figurines; Sir Henry Wellcome Collection – more than 30,000 objects from the early 20th century.

By Dawn Levesque

Fowler Museum at UCLA
Getty Museums
Hammer Museum
Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art

One Response to "Top Art Museums in Los Angeles, California"

  1. Abstract Art   May 30, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Good info, thanks

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