After over a year of museum closures, the Los Angeles art scene is back and exhibits, from first-timers to modern takes on classics, are on display all over the area. Many will close in early 2022 so, whether you live in Southern California or are traveling to the state to catch some rays; here is your guide to the perfect art weekend in Los Angeles including where to eat between museums and galleries.
(Note that many museums require advanced booking and all are subject to local COVID-19 rules.)
The perfect art weekend in Los Angeles starts with the outpost of the Immersive Van Gogh Experience that’s on view through January 2, 2022 on Sunset Boulevard. The goal of the exhibit is to immerse the viewer into the variety of the famous artist’s works. The main attraction is an oversized space where graphic interpretations of hundreds of Van Gogh paintings are projected from floor to ceiling and set to music. Imagine being surrounded by sunflowers and stars. There is a snack bar for fueling up before entering and an AI tool that invites visitors to write a letter to the recipient of their choosing who will receive a personalized letter in return. The price is not cheap, with tickets starting at $39.99 (plus fees).
Where: 6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Just a block from the Van Gogh experience is a mini slice of Manhattan on the corner of Selma Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard, where Tao, Beauty and Essex, and The Highlight Room are all found in one spot. Tao is famous for fancy pan Asian cuisine in an ornate setting; Beauty and Essex for creative small plates; and the Highlight Ballroom for the hotel rooftop vibes with classic California cuisine (try to make it there for sunset).
– Tao, 6421 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
– Beauty and Essex, 1615 Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
– The Highlight Room, 6417 Selma Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Get up early and make your way to the Huntington Gardens, a 130-acre space that is home to 16 stunning themed gardens and an art museum housed in the former Huntington home. The Huntington’s Thornton Portrait Gallery houses the iconic and recently restored “The Blue Boy” and — through January 3, 2022 — Kehinde Wiley’s “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman”. Wiley’s work is a large-scale portrait that sits in striking contrast and complement to The Huntington’s permanent collection.
Where: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA
From the gardens, make your way into Pasadena, which is the birthplace of the cheeseburger, so make sure to try one of the originals at Pie ‘N Burger. If you would like something more fancy to go with your art day, try afternoon tea at the iconic hotel Langham Pasadena. The hotel is the location where the Huntingtons sent their guests and many of the original buildings remain.
– Pie ‘N Burger, 913 E. California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106, USA
– Langham Pasadena, 1401 S Oak Knoll Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106, USA
Belly full, drive to Downtown LA where Lorna Simpson’s first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles — “Everrrything” — will be on view through January 9, 2022. The exhibit spans the north galleries and the open-air courtyard of the gallery’s Downtown Arts District complex. Also, at Gallery 1242, is Nelson Makamo’s first solo US exhibit, “Blue”, which features 44 of his works, the most extensive collection he has ever showcased. The Makamo exhibit can be seen on appointment only and is on view through November 20, 2021.
– Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 901 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
– Gallery 1242, 1242 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
It’s standing room only at the locally loved Sonoratown on eighth street. Go for the mini burritos, and if you are staying local, leave with a few dozen fresh tortillas. If at this point you need more of a sit-down dinner, Cha Cha Cha brings one of Mexico City’s top eateries to the heart of L.A.
– Sonoratown, 208 E 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA
– Cha Cha Cha, 812 E. 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
Sleep in and head to The Original Farmers Market for a brunch of crepes, empanadas, donuts, and coffee; anything you are craving will probably be available here.
Where: 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
Just a few blocks away is the newly opened and much anticipated Academy Museum. Yes, somehow, L.A only now has a museum dedicated to movies. On this trip, you are headed to the Hayao Miyazaki exhibit, which is the first North American museum retrospective dedicated to the work of the artist and filmmaker. Hayao Miyazaki features more than 300 objects, including original imageboards, character designs, storyboards, layouts, backgrounds, posters, and cels. Walking through the exhibit is much like one of the dreams his films create, and his fans will be blown away.
Where: 6067 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
If somehow you are not over art at this point, grab a coffee from the museum restaurant and walk a few steps to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Yoshitomo Nara exhibit. Covering over 30 years of the artist’s work, the show is on view through January 2nd. The main highlight is Miss Forest, a 26-foot outdoor painted bronze sculpture that will grace Wilshire Boulevard.
Where: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
Now you have covered the highlights, reward yourself and head back up Fairfax to Jon and Vinny’s for some Sunday Bolognese.
Where: 412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA