Free L.A.: Museum Day @ LACMA

Let me share a secret about myself: I’m a bit of an agoraphobic. Crowds of people make me uneasy. The different paces and directions at which people move and the lack of space make me want to jump out of my skin and float away. Add a stroller on top, and I forget how to move my limbs. Moving to L.A. doesn‘t necessarily ease symptoms of my phobia. 

BUT, I also love free things. And museums. And on free museum day in L.A., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) had free general admission, so I sucked up my agoraphobia and headed straight into the crowd to enjoy the wonders within (and around) those walls.

Heizer’s “Levitated Mass”

Upon entering, the LACMA sets itself apart with iconic outdoor installations free for the public to admire. Palm trees surround the premise and create an adjacent line to Michael Heizer’s humongous boulder, “Levitated Mass” which hangs over a walkway, casting a symbolic silhouette over the entrance. Anyone who has ever visited this boulder has taken a picture like this:

Our dear friend, Jessie

At the other entrance, you can waltz right into Chris Burden’s “Urban Light,” a cluster of 202 old street lamps that also make for excellent photo opportunities both day and night. 

Burden’s “Urban Light”

If you make it past the the hoo-rah outdoors, you’ll find tons of fun things to look at – anything from contemporary and modern art (the kind of stuff that makes you wonder how and why) to Mexican cinema. To be honest, I weaved through two floors until I could barely see my own feet amidst the crowd, which is when I started hinting to Chris and our friend that it was time to go.

But I couldn’t leave without seeing my personal favorite, Burden’s “Metropolis II”, a large installation of a children’s fantasy toy city. The metropolis is comprised of buildings and roads made of wood blocks and steel parts nostalgic of the Legos and Lincoln Logs we used to play with in kindergarten. Small scale architectural wonders like the Eiffel Tower and Tal Mahal are interspersed throughout the urban jungle. With a push of a button, hundreds of hot wheel cars and trains weave around the the many buildings, filling the room with the soft rumble of tiny spinning wheels along with the crowd’s oohs and aahs. This installation is so good, I’m going to forego sharing a photo here in hopes of persuading you to visit. Pictures won’t do it justice anyways. 

All in all, Jojo had an amazing, fuss-free experience staring at the multitudes of peoples and artwork while we got to spend some valuable family and friend time. That, to me, is a good great day. Oh, and it was free!

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