A Tour of Modern Art in Los Angeles

Courtyard at MOCA Grand Avenue | Photo courtesy of Mike Gach, Flickr 
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Home to one of the world's most exciting contemporary art scenes, Los Angeles holds innumerable treasures for any art aficionado. This modern art LA itinerary will help you navigate the best of the city's offerings.


Photo courtesy of current events, Flickr 

Begin in Downtown Los Angeles, where the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) holds one of the country's finest collections of American and European art created since 1940. The museum is an easy walk, subway ride or taxi ride from Downtown hotels.

With some 5,000 works in the permanent collection rotating throughout the year, you might find different landmark paintings depending on when you visit. Highlights include works by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn and many other modern masters. A particular favorite is Robert Rauschenberg's Coca Cola Plan.


Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA

Your next stop is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). At LACMA, you’ll find the largest and finest encyclopedic art museum in the western United States, with 150,000 artworks spanning five continents and time periods from the prehistoric to the present day. If you’re driving, you can park in the underground garage at Sixth St. and Ogden Dr. If you’re traveling by public transit, take the DASH B bus from Second St. and Grand Ave. south to Fifth and Grand, then hop on the 720 Wilshire Rapid bus. Get off at Fairfax Ave.

First, visit the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) via the red exterior escalator on the north side. Don’t miss works by today’s revered modern artists such as Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein and dozens more.

The Art of the Americas building is across the courtyard from the LACMA ticket booths. Inside, you’ll find David Hockney’s panoramic Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, a work that captures LA’s vibrancy and driving culture.

Walk back to the central court toward the grand staircase, then wind your way around the Bing Center and look over the railing. In the garden below is one of Alexander Calder’s whimsical, bright mobiles, Hello Girls (1964).

End your LACMA visit by stopping by the scrims on the south side of BCAM’s exterior, where rotating artists showcase their work to the thousands of cars that pass by on Wilshire Blvd.


Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum

To continue the tour, board the 720 bus at Wilshire and Fairfax, heading west toward Santa Monica. Exit at the corner of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards and begin your visit to the Hammer Museum. In addition to classic works of art in its permanent collection, the Hammer has an impressive contemporary collection and hosts some of the most progressive traveling and special exhibitions in town. Late-night parties are sometimes open to the public and are highly recommended.

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