Los Angeles: Bronze Balustrades & Organic Vegetables at the Getty Museum

woman's bum, getty museum

I went to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles because Kurt said we should go there.

If you’ve read any other stories from Juanito’s Travels you may already be familiar with Kurt. He appeared in some of my Guadalajara stories: go here if you want to read them.

Kurt said there was a nice bronze statue exhibition at the Getty. I’d also heard, from Kurt, there were millions of hippies up there smoking big lots of reefers, joints, doobies, buds, hasish, Maui Wowie, Purple Haze, Californian Wonder or whatever those hippies call that bad stuff that drives you mad, and has you obsessing over such things as art, clam chowder and Doritos. Actually Californian Wonder is the name of a variety of capsicum, or pepper as they call them up at the Getty Museum and the rest of the United States of America, this bit of information may be of some relevance further along in this travel tale when I write about the Getty Salad garden. But first, we had to get there.

We took the bus from Venice Beach down to Santa Monica, then, after many wrong directions from local Santa Monicans, we found the right bus stop from Santa Monica which took us around UCLA University, through some windy roads, past some freeway till and to our destination where we got to go on the little trams that take you up the hill to the entrance of the place.

plain balustrade, getty museum

Here is a view looking form the entrance, you may spot the people coming from the little tram in the top right. You will also notice the plain old balustrade in the foreground. Now you just keep that plain old balustrade in your head and then compare it to the balustrade I talk about further along, cause once that comes along you’ll be like, ‘who cares about plain old stainless steel balustrades’. Now, if you don’t know what a balustrade is, and you are not sure what I mean by ‘foreground’, I’ll explain, balustrades are a fancy term for railings, you may have used them to guide yourself up or down stairs at some point in time and may never have paid too much attention to them.

But before we discuss balustrades in too much more detail, you may be aware that the Getty Museum houses art an dis really quite cultural. Of course in the context of art you are free to admire lady’s bottoms, such as the one on the statue in the picture at the top of the page. But just like in real life it is rude and inappropriate to actually touch butts, of either gender, however nice they might look, unless of course they invite you to do so, which they do at the Getty Villa. Not the women there, or at least none that I saw on the day I visited there, which was two days after visiting the Getty Museum. But lets not get the Getty Museum and Getty Villa mixed up, though, as you might have guessed they are both places  with the word ‘Getty’ in the title. Getty being Paul Getty, who was some dude who had billions of fat stacks as they say in LA.

While you are digesting this, here’s a few pictures from around the Getty Museum.

downtown LA from getty museum

Here we have downtown Los Angeles viewed from the Getty Museum, you will notice a greyish low-lying bunch of grey stuff hanging over the place which the taxi driver who drove us from LAX to our accomodation in Venice Beach referred to as ‘fog’.

And below is some pictures of cacti, which they have planted are the Getty Museum.

getty museum los angeles

cactus, getty museum, los angeles

And below is the back of Kurt’s head as he heads into one of the Getty Museum buildings after we’d first experienced the wonderfull bronze statue exhibition. Now that was some exhibition, they didn’t let you take photos, which is bad in some ways as I don’t have any pictures to show you, but good in other ways as people were actually looking at the art rather than just photographing it and putting it on Instagram and Facebook. By the way, you can see these photos and more on my Instagram and Facebook pages (links above & below).

getty museum

And here’s an arty water feature which is meant to be some fountain or something, which had no water in it, because California is in a drought and of course the little bit of water that would make this nice piece of art look like a really great bit of art, because it really was designed to have water in it, is making the difference between California having water and not having water. I mean really, if you’re getting to the stage of this little fountain being the only source of water for a city of some 18 million people, you already totally f*cked, so I’d just turn the water back on. I mean given the dude who spent the money on the place made the money from oil, which has been used to fuel millions of cars that pump shit loads of CO2 into the air and contribute to the climate change that makes drought conditions more common and intense in California, I wouldn’t even bother trying to keep up appearances, just let that H20 flow, and at least stay true to the arty fountain that looks really weird without water in it, dudes.

getty museum, LA

And speaking of water, the blocks below used to be under the sea at some point, they are a special rock made out of something like fossilised coral or something, which is called travertine and had to be imported from Italy, because Paul Getty had a thing for Hellenistic art and architecture. Which is why the Museum has a bunch of Roman and Greek stuff in it, though there’s more at the Getty Villa, as well as why the bronze statue exhibition was displayed there, which, by the way, was absolutely amazing. But, to be honest, the permanent collection, which also has more modern pieces, didn’t really blow me away on the day, though, to be fair, I didn’t see the whole collection, and wasn’t really in the mood to look at more art following the fabulous time I had at the touring exhibit which featured some of the most famous and stunning bronze statue pieces from the ancient world you are ever likely to see in one place at one time. Given I couldn’t take pictures, here’s a link to it which I hope is still valid by the time you come to click on it: http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/power_pathos/ as the exhibition is now finished.

getty museum, los angeles

getty museum

There’s also this cool looking outdoor space with the high roof.

But below, is the piece-de-resistance of the Getty Centre Museumy thingy. It is is the bronze balustrades that you have been waiting to hear about in breathless anticipation from the very beginning of this page.

balustrade, getty museum

And below more bronze balustrades from another angle with the fabulously designed greenery behind it. It is really the finest example of balustrade I have seen any where in the world, it has a certain energy to touch, it has coolness, warmth, depth, passion, tactile appeal, all the stuff you expect from good art. Like the fountain if it had water in it, it gives that feeling of excess, abundance, just being there to admire, knowing that it would be impractical to have everywhere but as it guides you along the Getty Museums garden paths, giving you a sense of being special. It serves not just a railing to stop hippies and school groups from falling stoned into the garden – by the way there weren’t any of the former and the later, despite being in abundance on the day we visited, we perhaps only high on Coke, and, if I can indulge in a ‘Michael-from-the-show-The-Office’ moment, none of the school teachers we even that hot, and I would imagine none  were the subject of the bronze statue at the top of the page.

spiral garden, getty museum

Well you can see I have a thing for bronze balustrades, but what also impressed me about the Getty Museum was the little salad garden they had there, of which the lady in the hat, pictured below, was tending to on the day of our visit.

We had a nice long chat to her about her herbs and salad greens, cillis and Californian Wonder peppers. She was from Colorado I think, and probably the nicest person I have met in the USA apart from that cute couple who accompanied me on the Stars & Bars tour on my previous trip to LA – read about that here.

The Getty salad garden, getty museum, los angeles

As a kind of post-script, despite Kurt thinking he smelt pot all the way around the garden, I did not see or smell any evidence of the herb on the day of my visit, and I had to settle for a Californian craft beer with my clam chowder after the chat with the Getty Salad Garden lady. It was the first time I’d ever had clam chowder and although the experience of the bronze statue exhibition far exceeded the chowder experience, I’d say the chowder was only surpassed by the bronze balustrades as my highlight of the Getty Museum on the day of the visit. Sorry Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Gogh.

clam chowder