The Road Less Travelled: Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

The Road Less Travelled: Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

There’s plenty of things to do in Los Angeles, especially if you’re fond of celebrity and all things film and TV related. If you’re into art and design however, this city – albeit artificial, awkward and automated in my opinion – has a substantial amount to offer including architectural gems like Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Stahl House and the Eames House in Santa Monica (post forthcoming). There’s also several hulking museums and galleries boasting contemporary art collections that rival some of the most prestigious in the world (think: Tate Modern, MoMA, D’Orsay, et al).

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry.

Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is one such place that features a collection of infamous artists from around the world. Established in 1979, it’s the only museum in Los Angeles that is solely devoted  to contemporary art, and over the last 30 years it has acquired more than 5,000 works that it continues to add to every passing year.

Urs Fischer at MOCA's Grand Avenue Location.

Urs Fischer at MOCA’s Grand Avenue Location.

The museum is housed in three separate facilities, with the MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and the MOCA Pacific Design Center. I don’t know if it was a one off thing on the day I was there, but a ticket bought at the MOCA Grand Ave location was good for the Geffen Contemporary as well.

Two for the price of one…what could be better?

Both galleries are fantastic, and whether you’re an art enthusiast, you’re working on becoming an art aficionado, or have no goddamned idea why the hell someone was paid to put a set of fur covered stairs in the corner of a room (I’ll be the first to admit there is plenty of contemporary art that I do not understand) the MOCA locations are worth a visit.

Turning ideas into reality. Part of the interactive architectural exhibition at the Geffen.

Turning ideas into reality. Part of the interactive architectural exhibition at the Geffen.

If only for the Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock alone.

The day I was in the Geffen and Grand Avenue buildings Urs Fischer (sculptor/artist) had two fantastic exhibitions that were worth the time and energy it took to find a parking space at each locale. In the Geffen there was also an interactive exhibition on architecture that served to bridge the divide between the functionality of the profession and the artistic side of it. The Grand Avenue location was also filled with Fischer’s work alongside several mind bending pieces you’d possibly trip someone up to own.

What could be more arty farty than Jabba the Hut in clay form? I'll answer this for you: NOTHING.

What could be more arty farty than Jabba the Hut in clay form? I’ll answer this for you: NOTHING.

I won’t bore you with paragraphs of poetic lyricism on why you should check out the MOCA when in town, as I think photos are worth far more than anything I could possibly write about some of things I saw. So the time you’re in the City of Angels make sure to set aside an afternoon to get all arty farty. I mean, one can only go on so many celebrity sightseeing tours and the Hollywood Sign doesn’t look all that impressive up close. Hit up some galleries/museums for a break from the star-studded culture and try out a different kind of artificial madness.

Whether you love it or hate it, you’ll definitely leave with something to talk about.

MOCA GRAND AVENUE
250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY
AT MOCA

152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Opening Hours (the Geffen + Grand Ave locations):
Monday: 11:00 – 17:00
Tuesday/Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday: 11:00 – 20:00
Friday: 11:00 – 17:00
Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 – 18:00


MOCA PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER

8687 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

(see website for details on opening hours)