Los Angeles art museums offer diverse exhibits at no cost


“Radical Women: Latin America Art, 1960-1985” is on view for free at the Hammer Museum and explores the contributions of Latina artists. Photo from Facebook.

Though Los Angeles is chock-full of art museums, many of their admission prices are more expensive than the Uber fare there. The following museums, ranging from just a short walk away from campus to Brentwood, are completely free and will fulfill any broke college student’s artistic needs on a budget.

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum is located next to the California Science Center and is walking distance from USC. The focus of this museum is to bring to light the work of African American artists as well as artists from the African diaspora and the African continent. Current exhibits include We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-1985, which discusses the experiences of the women of color and their roles in creating political change, as well as Circles and Circuits I: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora, an exhibit that highlights the cultural works of Caribbean-based artists of Chinese descent. Both exhibits will be open until February 2018. CAAM is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Hauser & Wirth

Hauser & Wirth, located in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, will give you an artistic and gastronomical experience that you will not get at most museums. Integrated within the exhibits is either a bar or a restaurant that serves as a social space to discuss the art everyone is surrounded by. Hauser & Wirth’s current exhibits are running until January 2018 and include an installation by renowned artist Mike Kelley titled Kandors. This installation series brings Superman imagery and symbolism to life in a discussion of power, memory and loss. The second major exhibit is titled Accidental Records, a series of paintings by Ellen Gallagher that explores the dark human history of the ocean, over which thousands of slaves crossed to never return. Hauser & Wirth is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. 

The Getty

The Getty Center is a classic Los Angeles museum located in Brentwood, about 30 minutes from USC. The founders of the Getty vowed to never impose an admission fee in order to make art accessible to the public and promote the diffusion of artist knowledge in the coming generations. The permanent collection houses four pavilions, each with a different style of European art from Renaissance paintings to contemporary 20th-century Italian pieces. There is also a sculpture garden and a collection of rare photography, books and other pieces that the public can explore. In addition to the permanent collection, there are changing premier exhibits scheduled until the end of January 2018. The Getty is open from Tuesday to Friday and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum is one of the three art museums that are a part of the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture and located in Westwood. Exhibits and programs are completely free and open to the public. Current exhibits are Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 which highlights the contributions of Latina artists and celebrates Latina and China heritage; and Hammer Projects by Andrea Butter, an installation that focuses on themes of littleness and humility. The Hammer also offers free programs including meditation sessions, poetry readings, art discussions and exhibit tours. This museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Annenberg Space for Photography

The Annenberg Space for Photography is an expansive digital and print photography gallery, with over 50 historical exhibits every year. It is located in Century City about nine miles away from USC, but is worth the drive out for its beautiful city location and interesting exhibits. The Space also hosts photography lessons, cultural concerts and a lecture series related to the theme of the exhibits, which currently focus on Cuban history. The first, Cuba Is, explores the aspects and complexities of Cuban life that are often missing among the tense political issues surrounding the island. The second is RESOLVIENDO, which discusses how the rising generation of Cuban youth are redefining Cuban culture. The Annenberg Space for Photography is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature these exhibits until March 2018.

  • Mike

    MOCA at the Pacific Design Center is also free. The current show is part of the Getty Latin American & Latinx Art in Los Angeles – Organized by ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. maps the intersections and collaborations among a network of queer Chicano artists and their artistic collaborators from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. This period was bookended by the Chicano Moratorium, gay liberation, and feminist movements on one end, and the ravages of the AIDS crisis on the other. Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. marks the first historical consideration of these artists in the context of broader artistic and cultural movements: mail art, the rise of alternative print media, fashion culture, punk music, and artists’ responses to the AIDS epidemic.

    The exhibition will be presented at both the ONE Archives’ gallery in West Hollywood, temporarily located at 9007 Melrose Avenue, and MOCA Pacific Design Center.