Los Angeles … World Art Center

Los Angeles Stakes Its Claim as a World Art Center. That was a headline a few days ago in the New York Times. To stake a claim means to say publicly that you believe you have the right (authority or power) to do something, in this case the right to call yourself a world art center.

I wonder how many people think of Los Angeles as a world art center or, simply, an art center. We usually reserve (keep, hold) that right for cities that are home to the Louvre, Prado, Tate, Hermitage, or other well-known museums.

When many of the people I’ve talked to think of Los Angeles, they seem to think first of Hollywood. Or Disneyland. Or LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) – often on their way to Las Vegas. But not art.

That may all change if Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 to 1980 (PST) is successful. PST is a six-month series (similar events that happen one after another) of exhibitions (art shows) at 130 museums and galleries (places where you can see and buy art) from San Diego to Santa Barbara – cities that are south and north of Los Angeles. The New York Times article calls PST “an exhaustive (complete) accounting (description) of the Los Angeles-area art scene (area of activity).”

I was happy to see that the Times writer feels that Los Angeles deserves (has earned the right) to be considered an “art capital in the same league as (to be as good or important as) New York, Berlin, and London.” And he explains why: “Los Angeles these days has [many] ambitious (determined to be successful) museums, adventurous (not afraid to try new things) art galleries, wealthy collectors, top-notch (excellent) art schools and – perhaps most important of all – young artists….”

Let me tell you about a few of my favorite places for art-gazing (looking at art) in the Los Angeles area:

The Getty, two separate museums, is probably the best-known of the Los Angeles-area museums. The Getty Center sits high above Los Angeles in the Santa Monica hills. The buildings and garden are as impressive as its art collection. The Getty Villa, a recreation (built to look like) of an ancient Roman country house, overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. The Villa’s collection gives visitors an unusual look at life in ancient Rome, Greece, and Etruria (now Tuscany and Umbria in Italy).

The Norton Simon Museum, probably my favorite, holds the private art collection of Norton Simon, a southern California businessman and philanthropist (a rich person who gives money to help other people).  Many people believe it is the best private collection of art in the world. It includes 14th-20th century European, modern and contemporary, and Asian art. If you visit, you’ll find works by many of the world’s most famous artists. My adult ESL students used to enjoy visiting the Norton Simon as part of my summer art history class.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is best known for its collection of modern and contemporary art, American and Latin American Art, and art from Asia – China, Korea, and Japan. LACMA also has frequent special exhibits. On such exhibit, which includes several of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral paintings just opened (began).

The Museum of Contemporary Art, in downtown Los Angeles, features art created since the 1940s.

From time to time (occasionally), my wife and I like to sneak (go quietly) down to Laguna Beach – an ocean-side (next to the ocean) village (small town) about one hour south of Los Angeles – for art and food. Many small galleries there display art by living artists. And when you tire (get tired) of walking from gallery to gallery, you’ll find a large variety of food in restaurants on (next to) the beach.

If you ever visit southern California, give the Los Angeles art scene a chance. You won’t be sorry; I promise.

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

 Photo of the Getty Center by Christopher Chan used by permission.

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Los Angeles … World Art Center

  1. elcomandant says:

    I usually don’t travel a lot, but when I do it, I like visit some museums. At least, one museum in each city I visit.

    It’s also true that I like very much walking round the city, just watching buildings, streets, markets, stores, in short I love mixing myself among native people.

    The thing I like the most is to have lunch or dinner outside. Besides, I’m lucky because my wife likes the same things I like.

    Due to you have explained in a such good way what we can find in Laguna Beach, you can be sure that when my wife and I go to visit California in close future, we’ll visit Laguna Beach.

    Maybe someday we can see around. Who knows.

  2. Val says:

    I don’t doubt that there are a lot of to look at in LA and in the US as whole. But I think that you, Americans, think very much of themselves (Warren, I don’t speak about you in particular, I respect you and always enjoy reading your articles). All these World…. World series, World Art Center etc. America is not the entire world!!! This aggressive selfish politics causes a lot of problems on the Earth. Now Lybia is a poor victim of it.

  3. emiliano says:

    Thank you very much Warren, I am going to visit virtually every one of the sites you mentioned
    To me, with a very short experience about art or travelling, the most beautiful exiting land I have
    ever visited was Italy.
    All Italy is art.
    Every one of the cities are marvelous and you may spend weeks seeing each of them.

    It is not even necessary to visit all the museums, seeing the cities is enough.

    Siena, Florencia, Pissa, Roma, Milan, Bologna, Naples, but the smaller one are even better.
    I would like to go to Italy once every year and it will never would be enough to see so many
    incredible cities full of art and beauty.

    Of course another cities I was amazed were Paris, Praga and Viena, but this is another story.
    France, the Bretagne is incredible beauty and it is just the same.
    Watching the buildings, cathedrals and streets is really enough to be amazed.

    Of course, I would like to go to L.A., or S.Francisco not mentioned N.Y., but I think the feeling
    has to be just a little different.

    My best Warren, and thank you very much.

  4. Peter says:

    Get out of here!
    You gotta be kidding me.
    I have yo say,The claim is laugable chief
    “Paris is the world art and romance center ” is all I heard growing up.
    Now,the article is going around to claim something totally groundless
    No way that LA can live up to the hype
    I have never been to LA.
    Nevetthless,I m pretty sure that there is no way that LA can measure up to Paris.
    It is totally absurd!
    I have been to Paris.The city itself has an air of art and romance.
    It is an inherent part of ,an I regral property of the city.
    It is like I claim My Enlish skills are better than ,say, Jeff.
    That is how silly ,and in far-reach the claim is.
    It is insane!
    The nerve of the columonist.
    Get real,will you ?

  5. The New York Times article gives us a good lesson in the importance of little words.

    The writer wrote “a world art center”, not “the world art center”. And we might say that there’s a world of difference (a very great difference) between the two. By writing “a world art center”, he means that LA is one of many centers (important cities) of art in the world, along with all those we already recognize.

    If he had written “the world art center”, he would have meant that LA is the most important art city in the world. I don’t think anyone would say that!

  6. emiliano says:

    Even best lesson Warren, yes there is a great difference how a phrase could be
    written and what the meaning is only changing an indefinite article by a definite
    Absolutely different.

    Clear and short.
    So good lesson indeed.
    Well, I think Italy “is a land of art” the same as other lands there are round
    the wide world that possibly I will not ever know, having in mind this
    particular ignorance (I have traveled very few) I may add:
    To me Italy “is the land of art” just till this moment.

    Again, thank you Warren you have made me think a lot about how a
    single word could change all the meaning of a phrase.
    It is necessary to read or to speak more slowly.

  7. Sanaz says:

    Thanks Warren,

    It would be great, if I lived in one of these world art centers, Paris, Italy, LA, etc,. There is a big difference when you live in the city and you have the opportunity of visiting art museums from time to time compare with the time when you’re a tourist and you don’t have enough time.
    Enjoy visiting all interesting museums of LA .

  8. Peter says:

    Generally speaking ,It pays to listen to Jeff explaining all the terms and expressions as well as all the culture talk.
    It pays ten fold when you live in a English-speaking city.
    You do it ,you will get ahead

  9. Betty says:

    Thank you very much indeed, Warren, for introducing some of the great museums in Los Angeles (LA) to us.

    When Lucy talked about “Visit a Museum – Free!” on Tuesday 18 January this year, I have also learned about some museums in LA.

    It is a pity I did not even think of seeing any museum when I was in LA eleven years ago. Our (Mine and my family’s) aim was to go to Disneyland in Anaheim.

    We were happy enough to walk on the streets of LA, to sorb up the LA sunlight, and look at the sign Hollywood on the mountain. Like Warren, we liked to find something to eat when we were tired of walking from street to street. We had a meal in a Chinese restaurant and we had a good laugh when the steamed bun came and it was as big as a large size pizza (must be about 12 inches diameter).

    I am an active people and I love seeing moving things. I think that’s why I dread the idea of visiting art museum – everything stay still and you must keep quiet in those places. The science museum in London is more lively, children can see how the machines work and can talk freely when they are excited.

    Now my children are not small and I don’t have to worry about keeping them quiet in the museums (they don’t go to places with me anymore). There must be some museums in Hong Kong, but again, I had not visited any yet. I would go to the top of the mountains or go to the beaches for sunlight, fresh air and sea breeze – they are free, they are natural, and they are the best thing in the world.

    Thank you again, Warren, I will certainly remember to visit at least some museums if I have chance to visit LA again, although I think the time that I am in LA is so precious that I might rather walk in the street to look at people and check out what’s the prices of everything in the supermarket etc.

  10. Barbara says:

    Thank Warren Ediger for interesting article.

    If I have chance, I like to visit Los Angeles for art-gazing.

    And there is also a wonderfurl museum in Taipei,

    please come to have a look at exhibitions of Chinese five thousand’s history!!

  11. Betty says:

    What I can’t understand is, the picture inserted this article does not look like a photo to me. It looks like a part photographed part painted, especially the part nearer to us, the plant pot does not look real. Is it some kind of special technique, or is it just me?

    I also have had a look at Christopher Chan’s other photos in “www.flickr.com”. I can’t help asking: how come people can produce pictures so beautifully? How come when I look at things with my own eyes I don’t find them as beautiful?

  12. Ziba says:


    As everyone knows museums are places that people can visit and see the past. In every country there are especial museums in which there are ancient monuments that can show you every thing in the past in those countries.

    I think we should visit those museums when we have chance to travel to them.

    Furthermore there are places all over the world that you can’t find them in museums, So you visit them in the environment.

    For instance you can’t place Pyramids in a museum and even the Great Wall of China or the Persepolis in Iran.( Persepolis is the name of an archaeological ruin, part of the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire, established by King Darius about 515 BC.), you should visit it to one of the greatest civilization there. You are welcome in Iran.

    Thank you Warren for interesting topic and new words,


Comments are closed.