California Museums and Galleries
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach,
This museum originally came to fruition in 1918 as the Laguna Beach Art Association, where local artists met in a rustic cottage. A decade later, after a successful fundraising run, the arts collective moved the works into a custom-built gallery—a building that still exists today within the newest structure. All the art on display comes straight from California talent.
255 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs
We’ve long been admirers of Janssen Artspace, which closed its doors in 2010 after years of great exhibitions and events. Now, nearly a decade after its first opening party, artist and owner Steven Janssen brought the space back to downtown Palm Springs permanently. Twice a month, the gallery hosts a drawing workshop where participants have the opportunity to draw a nude model while getting feedback from Janssen as they work. During the day, you’ll find Janssen’s own work on display in the light-filled, open environment (as well as many other artists to come).
Hauser & Wirth
901 E. 3rd St., Downtown
While the Arts District gets buzzier by the day, the arrival of Hauser & Wirth, the massive new spin-off of the Swiss gallery, has transformed the neighborhood. Here, occupying a block-wide stretch of 19th-and 20th-century buildings that previously served as a flour mill complex, the space feels anything but a traditional white-box gallery. Look for pieces by important local artists like Paul McCarthy, Mark Bradford, and Richard Jackson. Through the end of the year, catch a survey of Austrian painter Maria Lassnig. The multi-use space also includes an education center, ARTBOOK shop, and even a community garden.
The Ansel Adams Gallery
Yosemite National Park
Admittedly, the center of a national park isn’t the likeliest of spots for a fine art gallery, and a really great one at that. As its name suggests, the focus here is on works from Ansel Adams, whose photographs of the park are icons and national treasures, though other artists are featured as well. A substantial part of the experience is the gift shop, which stocks an impressive selection of books, jewelry from local makers, and a small but mighty assortment of giftables.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., South Central
Since the early 1900s, L.A.'s Natural History Museum has been playing host to millions of artefacts from the past five or so billion years—and the collection keeps growing. (In 2011, they opened Dinosaur Hall.)
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., The Valley
The Skirball Cultural Center, a Jewish cultural institution that offers everything from exhibits to readings to recitals, is also home to architect Moshe Safdie's Arc, an incredible installation that occupies an 8,000 square foot gallery. Kids can climb aboard the wooden ship and interact with the animals, crafted with everything from rope, to recycled newspaper, to keyboards, and vegetable steamers. Make reservations well in advance.
Honor Fraser Gallery
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City
Honor Fraser Gallery is one of LA's premier galleries for contemporary art.
Frank Lloyd Wright Tour
While there are a handful of Frank Lloyd Wrights in L.A., all but Hollyhock House are closed to the public. That shouldn’t deter you, though, as there are several “Textile Block” homes on the list, including Ennis House, which you’ll likely recognize from Bladerunner. The house is composed of ornately stamped blocks inspired by Mayan temples that are so stunning, you won’t care that you don’t get to go inside. Use the Barnsdall Foundation's convenient google map to track them all down.
Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz
Overlooking the Hollywood Hills and crowned by Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, built in the early ‘20s for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, this park draws locals and tourists alike for art classes, outdoor movies, and Friday afternoon wine tastings.
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City
If you're an artist in LA, one of your goals is probably to get a show at Blum & Poe, one of, if not the, best LA galleries for contemporary art. It's a wonderfully big and airy space, and there's always something interesting showing.
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