Friday, March 5, 2010

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Part of my continuing series on our October trip to California…I’m a sucker for art museum landscaping done well (I bet you've never considered that as a whole category of landscaping have you? I'm weird that way). One of my first awe struck art museum landscaping experiences was at the Phoenix Art Museum, it was also one of my first danger garden posts, last March.

The landscaping at the LA Country Museum of Art didn’t disappoint. As we moved through the museum campus patterns and grids emerged, every where I looked I saw them…on the plants themselves…
In the way they were planted…just look at the lines of the palms, the fronds and the lines of the fence, spectacular!
Patterns and grids in the cafe furniture…
And of course the exhibits…
In the front of the building were huge raised beds full of giant Bromeliads (I think…correct me if I am wrong) and palms.
Here is the same planting but from inside a building (please excuse the window glare).
These palms reminded me of dancers with giant fans, so graceful.
Again with the patterns and texture!More from above…
Bamboo and spiral staircase…
Next door to LACMA are the La Brea Tar Pits we didn’t visit but just wandered over to take a peek. When my husband lived in Ventura he frequently visited LACMA and tells of seeing tar oozing through the cracks in the asphalt on Wilshire Blvd, sounds messy!
More pictures taken from inside the museum, this one of the building across the street. Isn’t this the hottest LA Fitness building ever? (you can barely make out the sign behind the tree) has a moat!
This is my favorite shot. So wavy! This is also the image that convinced me I needed to own a Furcraea, at least that’s what my amateur I.D. is of the plants in the big pots. Am I wrong?
I love the way the museum campus blended new and old buildings. Old like the Pavilion for Japanese Art.
And new like the Broad Contemporary Art Museum.
This brings up one of the negative aspects of visiting an art museum on vacation…when you just miss an exhibit that is so perfect for you, like the New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape…October 25, 2009–January 3, 2010, how I would have loved to see that exhibit! We were there on the 20th and the exhibit opened on the 25th! So close…


  1. I have never seen palms like those before! (in the 4 pictures after the Bromeliads) So awesome! Any idea of species?

  2. Wonderful pics. I love the blue-grey palm. Your pictures highlight to me the beauty of repetition, so often stressed in garden design...

    Have a lovely weekend, Ev

  3. Some of those look like they were dreamed up by the art department for Avatar.

  4. I visited LACMA way back in the 80s, before I got interested in plants. Those fan-like palms, stationed without any underplantings - sculptural in the extreme. Sorry you missed that exhibit - does that Teepee motel (on the old Route 66, maybe?) still exist? Crazy!

  5. Dear DG, I came across your weblog by accident but I am so pleased that I did. This was a most interesting and thought provoking posting,beautifully presented with intelligent commentary.

    Like you, I am interested in public landscapes and architecture and when executed well, these can afford some of the most exciting visual images. I spend much of my time in Budapest and the newly built 'Palace of Arts' which incorporates the National Contemporary Art Museum is a splendid example of public landscaping. There, massed pleached trees, a Danube riverscape to die for, a sculpture park and a ziggurat all add to the impressively modern building which is monumental in size.

    I hope to sign up as a follower of your site in order to not miss any future postings.

  6. Those palms! Those palms! I mean the ones Andrew is talking about too -- they are so amazing! WANT WANT WANT WANT! What are they?

  7. Your last comments remind me of the famous gardener uttered phrase "You should have seen the garden last week". Love those dancing palms.

  8. How did I miss seeing those palms with the fronds looking like origami'ed paper? I remember an architecture critic describing LACMA as an architectural petting of this, one of that... But I think the changes they've made recently pull things together much better. The interesting plants and landscaping definitely helps.

  9. Loree~~ I want those fan palms. I wonder if you can see the moat from the building while sweating on the treadmill--healthy body and mind.

  10. Andrew I wish I knew! I think I'll email the folks at LACMA in case they know.

    Evelyn, great point! So often I think of garden repetition as "drifts" of a certain flowering plant but you're right that this type of repetition (preferred by me) also counts!

    ricki, haven't seen it yet! You have? Recommended?

    Karen, I don't know about the tee-pee, but agreed...crazy! Like the hat and boots restaurant in Seattle? On Aurora? Am I remembering that right?

    Edith, hello! Thank you for visiting! I am not likely to get to Budapest anytime soon so I will be visiting your site too!

    Greensparrow, when (if) I find out you will be the 3rd to know. Or second. Depending on who reads first, you or Andrew.

    Les, great point. Not that I would ever say that. (lie)

    lostlandscape, they were way down under the escalator to the Broad Contemporary, maybe you were were looking at the artwork not the plants? Good point about the "petting zoo" I can see where they are coming from with that remark, but I rather enjoyed it.

    Grace, if so that would actually inspire me to use one of those dreadful machines!

  11. Those pleated leaves! Why, why can't we grow those here? Whatever they are, I'm sure they would be around the city somewhere if it were possible in z8. I really need that yard-sized greenhouse.

  12. Okay I've been to LACMA a few times and have never seen some of the landscape that is your photos. Next time I'm there I'm going to have to pay better attention. Have you been to the Getty while in LA? The Getty is beautiful. I also love the landscaping of the Phoenix Art Museum, I find it so peaceful to sit and look at all of the shapes of greenery and the flowers in the garden area by the cafe.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!