I stopped quickly in LA and mostly did fairly standard touristy things: Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Sunset Strip, ate tacos. I tried to visit museums but found that most of them were either closed for renovations, closed on the day that I had chosen to visit, or were closed for exhibition install, something that seems to have happened to me a lot. I did get to the J. Paul Getty Museum, a glistening white pile of architecture high up in the hills west of Bel Air. I was expecting there to be more stuff there than there was, but on the other hand the fact that the collections weren’t that extensive meant that you could easily see everything in a few hours and didn’t need to feel rushed or anxious that you’ve missed something amazing like in the big museums. It was also free, which is commendable seeing as the J. Paul Getty Trust is the world’s wealthiest art institution. While its good to see the stinking rich do something philanthropic with their money, and I admit I only took a cursory look at the Wikipedia page, it seems that the trust funds everything to do with the arts except artists. How about some cash for those who are making the stuff now hmm?

So moving on to the art – they did have in their collection Van Gogh’s Irises, which I remember from the palaver in 1987 when Alan Bond bought it at auction for like, 54 million dollars, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. He apparently never had the money to pay for it and the Getty people got it later in 1990. Anyway it was interesting to actually see it, it was also nice that it wasn’t behind glass like many paintings of that value, so you could actually see the texture of the paint.

Some other cool stuff was this Gainsborough lady with hair, that is like many things in LA, completely over the top:

Did you know Albrecht Durer did designs for signet rings in 1516? Neither did I. Is there anything the guy didn’t do?

They had some pretty out-of-control-awesome and enormous carved gilt 18th C French Rococo beds with canopies, tassles, brocade, fringes and ostrich feathers. It would be even more awesome if they had, say, perfect replicas of these that you could actually get on and roll around in (I should seriously be a museum consultant).

Not having seen much photography on my trip, I enjoyed the Herb Ritts exhibition which featured beautiful black and white shots of beautiful semi-naked super models, actors and fabulous bodies, very LA. Outside on the terrace there were plenty of stark white walls to re-stage your own Ritts-style shots in the severe & contrasty California sunshine, with all of LA as a backdrop. These guys were having their own little photo shoot, but I missed the money shot.

There was also a nice cactus garden, here’s me in front of it:


I window shopped at the designer stores on Rodeo drive, which I was expecting to be really long like 5th Avenue or something but it wasn’t. Here’s some Versace Lucite platforms:

and some crystal encrusted clutch bags by Judith Leiber. Did Bjork carry an egg shaped one of these with her famous swan dress to the Oscars? I’m not sure. This one costs $6000.

On my walk up to the Hollywood sign I noticed that the Hollywood elite back in the day preferred a medieval vibe, adding turrets and crenellated parapets to their bungalows. The often repeated cliche that nobody walks anywhere in LA was also made extremely apparent by the almost complete lack of footpaths.


After reading about the untimely death of Rodney King last month I was reminded of this van that I saw parked on either Wilshire or Santa Monica Blvd. The photo’s a bit fuzzy because I took it out the bus window. Maybe things haven’t changed that much.

Activities in la la | 2012 | B L O G