The 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?