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Walking Los Angeles: LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits


If you are going to spend a day walking in the Fairfax district head south to Wilshire Ave for a great art museum. In addition its contributions to the performing arts, Los Angeles is also home to the largest art museum in the Western United States — The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Located on Wilshire Blvd just east of Fairfax Ave. LACMA is home to art works that span the globe and date from ancient times to a four-story collection of contemporary art.

cliff dwellers bellows Cliff Dwellers by George Bellows

LACMA opened in 1961 in Exhibition Park near the USC campus, but moved in 1965 to its current home. Originally three buildings, the LACMA campus now contain seven buildings and two large outdoor spaces bursting with art.

IMG_0048The picture above is the canopy covering the LA Times Central Court, which sits between the three main buildings on the campus and houses a café with outdoor seating and a ticket booth for entry and events.

IMG_0049The Times Central Court at LACMA

 IMG_0050The Ahmenson Building

IMG_0058IMG_0059Broad Contemporary Art Museum

Among the collections at the museum are a wonderful Modern Art collection with about 15 Picassos, several Modiglianis and other Impressionist and Expressionist artists. There is also an extensive Asian art collection with a whole building dedicated to the art of Japan.

into the woods at giverney monet Into the Woods at Giverney - Claude Monet

nympheas monetNympheas by Claude Monet

 LACMA also hosts many special exhibits. While I was there three special shows were present: A large collection of Samurai Armor and Weaponry; an exhibit of works by the Hudson River School and an exhibit on German Cinema of the 1920’s.

 LACMA also is home to two of my favorite outdoor and interactive pieces of art, Urban Light:


And Levitated Mass:


Sharing a park with LACMA is the PAGE Museum and the LA Brea Tar Pits. Famous for trapping hundreds of prehistoric mammals, The La Brea Tar Pits are an area where underground asphalt has pushed its way up to the surface.  

IMG_0069The biggest pit Is actually filled with water, but you can see the methane bubbling (and sometimes gushing) to the surface.


There are also working excavation pits where you can observe paleontologists uncovering bones.



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