Photo from flickr.com
A few weeks ago, I invited a couple of my blog readers to "guest write" for one of my blogs on any topic, except, sex, politics or religion. The following article about the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California was submitted by Frank Cabunoc. He is from Quezon City, Philippines. Frank and his wife Mildred reside in Fairfield, CA.
Thank you, Frank for this excellent article. I hope you write another article soon.
"A trip to Los Angeles usually involves a visit to the theme parks, which is not on top of my priorities. Last October 2010, my wife wanted to visit Disneyland to see their Halloween theme display. I was hesitant but I realized it would be a good time to go see the Getty museums on the same trip, a place we’ve never visited. It was a compromise to go on vacation, so off we went to southern California.
There are two J. Paul Getty museums, one is the Getty Center which is located on top of a hill beside Hwy 405 in Los Angeles. The Getty Villa in Malibu can be reached through the Pacific Coast Highway.
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The galleries at the Getty Center are housed in the Museum's five exhibition pavilions, plus the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery. Admission is free, and parking is $15 per vehicle. Parking is free after 5:00 pm. At the Getty Center, the tram station sits on top of the parking building. There is a beautiful garden on the opposite side of the tracks. The landscaping contains several modern art pieces and sculptures, a preview of what is in store in the museum. The tram winds up the steep hill where you get a fantastic view of the freeway and Los Angeles. It is the sweetest way to start out a museum visit.
As you step out of the tram, you are welcomed by a huge veranda. At this juncture, the sweeping views of Los Angeles are already worth the price of parking. If you can pry yourself from the stunning views from the terrace, you climb up an impressive set of granite stairs into the main plaza. At the plaza, you will see the breathtaking architecture and layout of the surrounding buildings. The plaza is paved in stone and dotted with well-arranged ponds, rocks, benches, plants and trees. Seeing the superb architecture is definitely worth the trip, the building itself is as much an achievement as the art it houses.
I love it when a building made of steel, glass, marble and stone can inspire me just as much as any work of art, and the Getty Center accomplishes that. The well-ordered architecture and grounds inspires a bounty of feeling and thought. Every square inch of this place was well designed. No expenses were spared. This is the only place in Los Angeles I have found as magnificent.
There are five pavilions of the museum that are divided into specific time periods. Each wing has two floors containing an assorted collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, and furniture. They have a couple of areas hosting rotating fresh exhibits. The artwork selection isn't the best you would expect, but they do have the likes of recognizable paintings by Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. The art are mostly European and could be more diverse. Yet, there is so much to see and appreciate among the great variety of exhibits in the museum. They have a vast and wonderful collection of interesting artwork which you can draw or take pictures. There is a sketching room where you can try your hand to sketch a sculpture.
The words etched into the marble entrance into the gardens:
Ever Present Never Twice The Same,
Ever Changing Never Less Than Whole
Go outdoors and enjoy the views of the building and the landscaping. The simple act of walking the museum grounds is more than amazing. In the center garden is a bridge which crosses a stream. The stream flows through the sloping landscape and empties into the pond of the main garden. The main garden is spectacular with the colorful array of plants and flowers surrounding the central pond and fountain. The walkway leads to the main garden, and the footpaths around allow you to view this garden of art from all angles. I do believe how lovely it is to be here, and how from every angle of the grounds there seems to be yet another lovely and different slice of scenery to pause over, reflect and appreciate.
I will say it is a challenge to get and absorb all the Getty Center has to offer in one trip. You may consider planning ahead, and making sure you have time allotted to make a complete visit. If you plan on coming to the Getty Center, arrive early in the morning to view all the different exhibits, have lunch at their restaurant and have a glass of wine. They have great coffee choices which will be an added treat. Spend the rest of the afternoon in and around the garden to soak up the beauty and life.
The Getty Center is an American treasure worth to be visited. The architecture and arts of the Getty Center along with the views of Los Angeles are magnificent to say the absolute least. It is an overall great place to visit and spend a whole day. Come to the Getty Center even if you are not interested in art, it is truly a unique and special place, a must see for everyone. I would recommend this place to any visitor in the Los Angeles area. If I have a chance, I will definitely come back again. If you have never seen the place, go at least once, just for the great experience. Here's a short video of the Getty Center. Stunning views and magnificent outdoor gardens indeed!
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