Saturday, June 08, 2002

In the Getty

Christina and I went to LA last weekend with her sister. This trip was as a result of a contest Christina won last fall. I went out Saturday-Tuesday, and the two of them returned yesterday.

Sunday morning, we headed out to the Getty, Los Angeles' newest and most impressive art museum. The collection is funded with the fortune of the late J. Paul Getty, builds on his collection, and reflects his tastes. His tastes aren't exactly mine, which is just as well, since there's a lot to see there. We never would have managed to see everything even if we had wanted to.

Appropriately enough for LA, getting to see the museum revolves around parking. During the week, you have to make a reservation to park. For whatever reason, that isn't the case on the weekends. After parking, you ride the monorail to the museum. They seem rather proud of the monorail -- Christina was looking for a magnet in the gift shop, and the only ones she found featured the monorail. That seems a little odd for an art museum.

The only 20th century or American art they feature is in the photography collection. They have so many photographs, the only ones that are on display are a part of whatever exhibition they have going on. When we visited, it was "Railroad Vision". The exhibit was an interesting collection of photographs done for early railroads. The exhibition was perhaps more interesting as a history exhibit than an art exhibit, though the pictures were attractive. The railroads hired photographers, and the photographs they took encouraged people to ride the rails to scenic destinations. There was one interesting picture of Lincoln and a couple of generals or aides. Lincoln was clearly the only one who had difficulty standing still for the whole exposure, as he turned out a little blurry.

We looked at one part of the permanent collection -- the late 19th century paintings on display. They had some nice selections, such as the above Van Gogh, as well as works by Monet and Cezanne.

We also saw "A Treasury of 15th-Century Manuscript Illumination". The illuminated manuscripts were beautiful, although there was not a lot of descriptive text in the exhibit. There were a few entries keyed to the audio guide, and that was a little helpful with understanding the context.