6 Los Angeles Museums You’re Really Going to Want to Visit Online
Now that we’re all sheltering in place, we’re browsing the internet for ways (in addition to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and whatever else) to keep ourselves entertained. Or at the very least, something to distract us from the news for a little while. Thankfully, lots of Los Angeles museums are providing those of us stuck indoors with ways to still get stimulating doses of culture, including videos, curator talks and plain old great imagery. Here are six virtual museum tours you won’t want to miss.
1. Hear Adele Perform at the Broad
Globally acclaimed singer Adele was filmed performing “When We Were Young” in the glittering (and much-Instagrammed) immersive artwork by artist Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at The Broad museum. The resulting film became her performance at the 2016 BRIT Awards. The Broad’s YouTube channel includes a video of Adele talking about why she chose this artwork and the role museums have played in her life, as well as a conversation series called The Un-Private Collection, in which talented creatives such as filmmaker Ava DuVernay and artist Kara Walker discuss all things artistic.
2. Listen to Blues at MOCA
Through a new program called Virtual MOCA, each week brings daily cultural offerings of part of a past or current exhibit. For example, week one featured 2012’s wide-ranging and fascinating Blues for Smoke exhibit, including videos from author-activist Cornel West, Ph.D., and musician Nas, as well as photographs of the installation and a critical essay. Equally fascinating is the video by artist Barbara Kruger discussing her 1990 work, Questions, which was reinstalled on the outside of the museum in 2018.
3. Laugh Along with LACMA
Imagine if you were a major art museum and you turned your Instagram feed over to an irreverent intern? That’s the vibe of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s IG feed, where soothing images (like a painting of an Edwardian lady at her lady desk, writing lady letters) are interspersed with classical paintings overlaid with saucy text and current exhibit excerpts. Additionally, there are three can’t-miss videos: A Brief History of John Baldessari (narrated by Tom Waits), David Hockney in the Now (in Six Minutes) and Catherine Opie b. 1961.
4. Make Discoveries With the Natural History Museum
One of the scientists at the Natural History Museum was part of a team that discovered the world’s smallest dinosaur trapped in Burmese amber. About the size of a hummingbird, its bulging eyes and sharp teeth suggest it was an avid hunter. Watch a video on this tiny terror, or for something tamer, read a fun essay extolling the diversity of global trees in our own backyard. And since we are in Hollywood, the museum’s programming has a special movie-magic bent, like the exhibit about the scientific underpinnings of horror-film principals such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein. One for grown-ups and kids alike.
5. Color Inside the Lines at the Getty
The Getty Center and the Getty Villa have what they are calling “a starter kit” of the museum’s current shows, including a look at the line-drawing prep sketches (with an audio tour) of Michelangelo, a survey called Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq and an introduction to Käthe Kollwitz, one of the foremost graphic artists of the 20th century. Plus you can print coloring book–style versions of some of the Getty’s famed art pieces to watercolor (hello, mindfulness). Podcast fans should be sure to tune in to curator Helen Molesworth’s series Radical Women, in which she interviews artists or explores the legacy of powerful women such as Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Betye Saar, Helen Frankenthaler, Yoko Ono and Eva Hesse. Netflix, who?
6. Explore Perspective at The Hammer
So many videos are online at The Hammer, including ‘Bad’ Feminism with writers Roxane Gay and Andi Zeisler and The Watts Rebellion: 50 Years Later. There’s also a generous reproduction of pieces from the first full-scale retrospective of Paul McCarthy, the contemporary artist whose works skewer, often profanely, mass media and consumer-driven American society by pointing out its hypocrisy, double standards and repression. (Yes, he’s really funny.) Plus, something for the classicists: a virtual exhibit called Rembrandt in Southern California that examines each of the 14 masterworks in five area cultural institutions.