The Getty Center itself is an amazing piece of modern architecture. Built in 1997 out of a private trust, it looks as if it were built out of stones laid on top of each other without any mortar. There are crystal clear fountains everywhere. One in particular flows from one side all the way through to the garden's centerpiece. The fountain pictured to the left is the main fountain and does not flow through the garden. This is the first time modern architecture has actually impressed me. Most of the time, modernity in architectural expression reminds me of a cleaner version of a Costco warehouse made out of slightly more expensive materials. This then makes me crave Greco-Roman Columns, Baroque, Rococo....something obnoxiously ornate.
I immediately went to the main garden so I could hit it before all of the other tourists came and ruined its tranquil beauty. The garden floored me. Normally, I hate modern gardens. But the textures, designs, plants, shapes, colors, and the overall plan were so well done. The water from one of the smaller fountains near the main plaza spilled into an artificial creek, which then ran through a wooded patch filled with trees and succulants, and then came to a waterfall into the main water resevoir. Here is the final destination (pictured right). The central water-shrubbery was so perfectly manicured, I could not believe my eyes. The maze in the resevoir reminded me of Labyrinth - so much so that I half expected David Bowie to come prancing out in his tight pants singing "Dance magic, dance!" with Jim Henson puppets in tow. The photo that I took does not do it justice. The pink flowery "fountains" on the sides are awesome! As you can see, they are pictured to the left. [SIDENOTE: I have better pictures, but I do not want Google to weasle its way out of privacy clauses and publicly declare that they own them. So, if you want to see more, I will show them on demand (and not on the interwebs, which I obviously don't trust). At least these photos are not the best examples of my photographic prowess - suck on that Google!] After I finished drooling at the succulants (I am such a sucker for succulants! - forgive the pun...), I had lunch at the gigantic cafe (oxymoron?) pictured behind the flowery thingamajiggers. It was an awesome view to say the least. (Had enough of the parentheses yet?).
Now that my random anti-Google rant is done (which is highly ironic because Blogger is controlled by Google, like the rest of the world), on to the exhibits!!! Getty's collection is rather impressive. I first went to the North Pavillion - art before 1700A.D. The Medieval and Renaissance art was intriguing, but not my cup 'o tea. There were wonderfully-illuminated manuscripts and Bibles. I started yawning, so I quickly jumped ahead several hundred years to the Impressionists. The room for Monet / Renoir / Van Gogh was PACKED with people. I got to see Sunrise (Monet), La Promenade (Renoir), Irises (Van Gogh), Wheatstacks (Monet), whatever the heck the famous bridge over a pond painting is called. And, to prove it, I have scattered my horrible phtographs of these paintings through the rest of this blog entry. HA! After I was finished with the West Pavillion, I quickly hopped over to the South and East Pavillions to check out art from 1600s through 1800s A.D. Again, they had amazing pieces of work - sculptures, paintings, incredibly ornate decorative art. My favorites were Walk at Dusk (Friedrick), Waiting (Degas), some other ballet painting by Degas that I forgot the name for (pictured right), Grand Canal (Bellotto), A Calm at a Mediterranean Port (Vernet), etc. There are too many to mention. There was also a special exhibit on Jean-Leon Gerome. His quasi-photorealistic style is amazing. Apparently, he was highly controversial, having been accused of producing commercial art by his contemporaries and shunned for not jumping on the impressionist bandwagon. We were not allowed to take pictures (even without flash) in that exhibit:P My favorites of his include The Execution of Marshal Nay, Jerusalem, Pollice Verso (Thumbs Down), The Tulip Folly, Oedipus, and Lion on the Lookout. His paintings tended to have a darker quality to them.
At teh very end, I decided to sit at a cafe, drink some coffee and knit. I found out my daily limit for coffee once my eye started twitching. Then, it was down the mountain on the tram and back to the bus stop for me.
I hope to go back again before I leave. There was just too much to soak in for one day. If you ever visit L.A., make sure you go to the Getty Center. It is definitely one of my favorite things:)
Check it out online: www.getty.edu/museum.