Art Adventures in and Around LA

Art Adventures in and Around LA

There’s so much great and interesting art to see and experience here is Pasadena and in and around Los Angeles. Here’s a quickie of some great shows and a weekend getaway for art lovers and curious alike.

Culture in our backyard:

Our fine city of Pasadena has a rich and textured cultural history. Formerly the Pasadena Art Institute which was founded in 1922, the Norton Simon Museum was built on Carmelita Park, comprised of the land from the Victorian era Reed mansion. With its lush grounds, sculpture gardens and noteworthy collections and exhibitions, the Norton Simon offers a full day of art exploration and discovery. Mark your calendars for their Matisse/Odalisque exhibition opening February 22, 2019.

With a history and location that’s entwined with the Norton Simon’s early days, the Pacific Asia Museum has a Sand Mandala show running January 20 – 26, during which Tibetan monks will create then destroy a mandala made onsite. An auspicious way to usher in the new year! The opening ceremony and blessing will be held Sunday, January 20 at 12:00pm, and the closing is Saturday, January 26 at 12:00pm.

In LA and Beyond:

Hollywood houses a marvelous and unexpected gem – Japan House Los Angeles. Nestled in the Hollywood Highland complex, Japan House offers delightful exhibitions highlighting various forms of Japanese art and architecture, such as their recent “Sou Fujimoto: Futures of the Future,” with photos of his completed projects and quirky models made from quotidian objects.

The LA Art Show Modern and Contemporary is in town January 23 – 27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “More than 200,000 square feet of exhibition space is committed to … domestic and international galleries,” with special exhibitions and a program of art dialogues. The show’s extensive collection of galleries offers something for every taste and artistic sensibility, covering a lot of art viewing in one location.

Elsewhere in DTLA, MOCA’s “Manny Farber and Termite Art” show is dynamite. The exhibition features a satisfying display of thirty plus artists with over 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, films and videos from the 1950s to the present (through March 11).

And if you have some time on your hands and are brave enough to remain optimistic in the standby line, The Broad right across the street is showing the “Journey that Wasn’t,” featuring works from its extensive collection. The museum tweets out standby wait times, and hey, if you don’t make it in, well, then that’s a journey that wasn’t so, in a sense, you experienced it!

And now for something completely different:

Up for a day trip? Head out to Salvation Mountain just east of the Salton Sea. Kind of like the Watts Towers of the desert, Salvation Mountain is a sprawling compound and labor of love outdoor installation that took creator Leonard Knight over ten years to complete. “Leonard’s passion has lovingly created this brilliant ‘outsider art’ masterpiece resplendent with not only biblical and religious scripture such as the Lord’s Prayer… including flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds, and many other fascinating and colorful objects.” And when you visit, treat the space as you would art in a museum; don’t do anything risky or damaging for the sake of a selfie!

(And of course, if you have not seen the Watts Towers, go there right now!)

Lastly, speaking of outsider art, The Good Luck Gallery located in the heart of the Chinatown arts district is the only L.A. gallery focused on self-taught art (AKA “Outsider Art”). Currently on exhibit is the work of Helen Rae who is taking the mainstream art world by storm. Her vivid, fashion-inspired colored pencil and graphite drawings have grabbed the attention of art world elite, and she’s been featured in Vogue, Vulture and The Los Angeles Times among other publications.