Nearly every art lover dreams of one day traveling to a different country to witness amazing pieces. But the art lover in you doesn’t have to leave Los Angeles to witness great art from different cultures.
A few museums in Los Angeles allow you to widen your aesthetic awareness and learn about different cultures without having to buy a plane ticket.
Only a stone’s throw away from the posh outdoor mall The Grove, LACMA houses a considerable amount of art from different cultures.
The Pavilion for Japanese Art takes you on a trip down a spiraling pathway where, by the end, you’ve seen artwork, armor, sculpture and ceramics all the way from 3000 B.C. to the 2000s.
One of LACMA’s newest additions is the collection “Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Court,” which boasts 200 works of art, some even dating back to the eighth century.
The collection also contains the Ardabil Carpet, a breathtakingly intricate Iranian rug — one of two made back in the 1530s.
“Art of the Pacific” takes you to yet another world with its holdings of Polynesian and Melanesian objects, from an impressive drum collection to masks and statues. The museum also boasts a collection of Latin American Art and an exhibition from Californian Tim Burton.
LACMA is open every day except Wednesday, until 8 p.m. Bring your ID and pay only $10 for admission, with the exclusion of the Tim Burton exhibition. After your visit, stop by Chris Burden’s “Urban Light,” the fascinating sculpture made of street lamps, to take that iconic L.A. photo you’ve always wanted.
LACMA is located on 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Japanese American National Museum
If the Japanese art at LACMA left you thirsting for more contemporary Japanese work, you can visit the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. Not only is the museum an ideal location for learning about Japanese American history, but it also offers artwork by Japanese artists.
“Kip Fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa” is a series of photographs of people who are Hapa — half Asian or Pacific — taken by artist Kip Fulbeck. The exhibition shows portraits along with writings of the subjects, which probe into the meaning of identity and race.
For the comic book and animation lover in you, the museum also houses a collection of work by Stan Sakai, the genius behind the samurai rabbit cartoon figure Usagi Yojimbo. The collection not only contains artwork, but also comic book art, toys and even a short documentary on the cartoon creator.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m. Students with ID pay $5 and entrance is free Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month. Luckily, there are plenty of sushi places nearby if all this artwork gets you hungry.
The JANM is located on 369 East First St.
Chinese American Museum
Downtown Los Angeles houses a good number of hidden art places waiting to be discovered. Similar to the JANM, the Chinese American Museum downtown offers a comprehensive history of culture but also feeds your hunger for some art.
The museum houses artifacts dating from the early 1900s but also fuses the past with the present with its newest exhibition “Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration.”
An exploratory collection that crosses a variety of mediums, this exhibition tackles the issue of immigration to America and the struggles involved.
The graffiti art, sculptures, multimedia works and more are created by local artists and present a wide range of cultural background with works from artists like Guatemalan graffiti artist Cache and the American iconic street artist Shepard Fairey.
You’ll be able to see not only their reactions to immigration issues at hand today, but also the aesthetic abilities that have garnered these artists fame so far.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and students with ID get in for only $2. Walk or drive over to the nearby historic Placita Olvera and choose from a variety of Mexican restaurants and maybe even try a chocolate-filled churro.
The Chinese American Museum is located on 425 N. Los Angeles St.