Happy 10th Birthday, Getty Center!

getty_300.jpgThe Getty Center is one of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles. I think it’s perfect. I love the constant changing of exhibits and the richness and depth in which they are presented. I love the grounds and gardens, the way that the focus is on local plants, the way that the surrounding terrain seems part of the landscape design. And I even love the way the museum sits, above the city, a literal ivory complex, those gleaming white buildings that are a world of their own – and yet so much a representation of Los Angeles.

There is a fantastic article in the Times today that talks about the Getty Center, and how our perception of the place changes as Los Angeles changes around it. It is, after all, an architectural icon, but an icon representative of a rapidly changing city. It lends “instant, old-fashioned respectability to an institution that craved it,” to quote the Times article. It is a world-class building and museum, in a city perceived to be so new, and so transitory, that it lacks such things. I highly recommend checking the article out here.

But what does the Getty Center mean to you?

To me, it the Getty Center means countless opportunities to see exhibits of thoughtful, exquisitely researched historical art. It means walking the beautiful gardens, with all their details and metaphors, often under those borrowed umbrellas to protect from sun or rain. It means all those fascinating, random, panel talks from visiting experts. Most of all, it means the memory of a dozen trips over my three years in L.A., sometimes a day alone, but more often with friends or family, alternating between being lost in the works within, or sitting together in the central courtyard, drinking coffee to recharge and take on more art absorption.

What does the Getty Center mean to you, both as an architectural landmark and as a personal experience? What can you say to wish it a happy 10th?

4 Replies to “Happy 10th Birthday, Getty Center!”

  1. Wow 10 years already? I love that place too, though the original Getty Malibu is still my favorite. It is also the favorite of my 10 yo and we can just spend hours walking around and looking.

    What does it mean to me? Ideas for one to help fuel my quest for new directions to explore with my own work. The primary still is that it is one of the best place to take a child and explore and watch their little minds open up to the incredible history of the human condition.

  2. Ten years? Oh my!

    The first three times I went, I didn’t even look at the exhibits, I was so taken with the grounds and the buildings (though I still think Meier is arrogant to a fault). I love the space. I love the granite. I love the garden. And I love that it’s perched on top of that hill.

    I think recent problems have slowed a tremendous beginning, but I know it will survive and can only hope it’s potential is realized.

  3. it doesn’t feel like ten years…i was able to attend the opening weekend ten years ago and my friends and i were so taken by the enormity of it, the views, and the not yet ready garden. every time i’ve gone after that has been very special in its own way – the exhibits, the growing garden, eating at the restaurant. it’s such a special place and it was only this past summer that i finally took a tour of the getty for a class i was taking. definitely a place where you constantly learn no matter how many times you’ve gone.

  4. I was just at the Getty last night for an opening, and I’m again and again reminded of what a marvelous place it is. After a few years of traveling the country and looking at museums, I keep appreciating the Getty more and more.

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