The Getty Center
June 14, 2008
The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles 90049-1681
Tues.-Thurs., Sun., 10am-6pm; Fri., Sat., 10am-9pm
Parking is $5., Museum admission is always free.
(310) 440-7300, FAX (310) 440-7748
Web site, www.getty.edu
Toss your preconceptions aside, the Getty Center is like no other art museum. As matter of fact, it’s a super art mall. This hilltop complex is a series of separate distinct small museums and related structures connected by covered walkways and open plazas; there are also outdoor patios with café seating, and a myriad of fountains. It owes more to Lalaland suburbia than Richard Meier & Partners, the architects, would like to admit. It’s Fashion Island Mall, Hearst Castle, and LACMA (LA County Museum) combined.
This new art center dispenses art information and technology very efficiently. While it does show the public its collection, it doesn’t do it as efficiently or simply as most other museums.
That being said, when you visit California – don’t miss it. The Getty Center, with outstanding views overlooking LA, exquisite interiors filled with art, and the fluidity Robert Irwin’s intriguing garden, result in a wonderful experience for most visitors.
Before your visit, plan carefully. Consider traffic even if you are not driving because the only way to the Getty is on I-405 – perhaps the most congested freeway in California. If you do drive you may have to make a parking reservation; however parking reservations are no longer required on weekends, but it costs $5, cash only. Call (310) 440-7300. Hint: try to make hotel reservations in West Los Angeles preferably along Wilshire or Sunset Blvd., so you can take those streets to I-405 and bypass I-10 and I-405 traffic. Check the Getty's Web site for up-to-the-minute information and bus/taxi directions.
Try to get there early in the morning or later in the afternoon to get a parking space if you’re visiting on a weekend. Otherwise, you must make a parking reservation.
Elevator from Garage
The tram is the most direct way to get to the museum. It’s a short, nifty ride, however the lines may be long and slow. If you’re fit and the weather is good, walk up the hill to the main entrance – it's less than a mile but remember it's all uphill.
The Main Museum Entrance
If you are interested only in viewing art,
stop and load up on printed maps
and explanations of the gallery layout
because the museum’s traffic patterns
However if you are taken with the exterior and the California light and air experience, walk through the plazas to the Robert Irwin Garden or check out the schedule for architectural tours of the building complex.
If you do not want the hassle of scheduling tours just enjoy the views and gardens at your leisure.
Robert Irwin Garden
All visitors enthusiastically embrace this amazing conglomeration of flora, rocks, water and man-made elements. The design and creation of the Central Garden were entrusted to the distinguished contemporary visual artist Robert Irwin. Irwin, a member of California's "light and space" movement of the 1960’s, has created a garden design that has aroused intense interest in both the art world and among gardening enthusiasts. Irwin has playfully termed his creation "a sculpture in the form of a garden aspiring to be art." These photographs reveal the constant care plus imagination that went into the creation of each aspect of the garden, from the bridges, handrails and lighting fixtures to the huge boulders, azalea rings and waterfalls that make a visit to the Getty Central Garden an inspiring experience.
These photographs are presented as you would view the Irwin Garden form its source, a fountain that is carved from the Getty Plaza above the gardens. The last few pictures are of the terrace gardens, which were not designed by Robert Irwin.
The stream that originated from the fountain,
cascades over boulders through vegetation
and funnels into an aqueduct that
subsequently flows over a waterfall
into an incredible lagoon.
The Other Gardens, Fountains And Plazas
This is where the mall element
is most evident. Either enjoy the
array of espresso bars, cafes,
outdoor patios, and inviting
fountains or just head inside
to any of the galleries or information
centers and soak up some culture.
Most of the other gardens are on terraces of the main museum structure. They are quite interesting and offer great views of Los Angeles.
We will take a look at the Pavillions, its interior design and above all the Getty collecton in our next edition.