With 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract nearly a million visitors annually.
LACMA's seven-building complex is located on twenty acres in the heart of Los Angeles, halfway between the ocean and downtown. The campus is undergoing a ten-year expansion and renovation known as the Transformation and designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
LACMA's collections encompass the geographic world and virtually the entire history of art. Among the museum's special strengths are its holdings of Asian art, housed in part in the Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art; Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and José Clemente Orozco; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.
The Museum has its roots in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, established in 1910 in Exposition Park. In 1961, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was established as a separate, art-focused institution. In 1965, the fledgling institution opened to the public in its new Wilshire Boulevard location, with the permanent collection in the Ahmanson Building, special exhibitions in the Hammer Building, and the 600-seat Bing Theater for public programs.
Over several decades, the campus and the collection have grown considerably. The Anderson Building (renamed the Art of the Americas building in 2007) opened in 1986 to house modern and contemporary art. In 1988, Bruce Goff's innovative Pavilion for Japanese Art opened at the east end of campus. In 1994, the museum acquired the May Company department store building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, now known as LACMA West.
Most recently, the Transformation project revitalized the western half of the campus with a collection of buildings designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. These include the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a three-story 60,000 square foot space for the exhibition of postwar art that opened in 2008. In fall of 2010, the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion opened to the public, providing the largest purpose-built, naturally lit, open-plan museum space in the world, with a rotating selection of major exhibitions. Ray's restaurant and Stark Bar opened in 2011, invigorating the central BP Pavilion near Chris Burden's iconic Urban Light.
The LACMA campus continues to evolve in order to present an encyclopedic collection of art, special exhibitions, and music, film and educational programs.
FEATURED VIDEO: JOHN BALDESSARI, PURE BEAUTY
View of Urban Light, 2008, by Chris Burden at LACMA.
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