Across the grove of pines there is a row of buildings that are the realized vision of Aline Barnsdall’s art utopia. Sadly, she wasn’t alive to her dream finished. On this side of the park there is still more to see and do, there is a theater, art classrooms, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG). These buildings show traces of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, but were built in the brutalist style indicative of most public use buildings built in the 1950s to 1970s.
The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery opened to the public in 1954 and features Los Angeles and California based artists, plus those who have had an impact on the California art scene. LAMAG is a huge space, just its main gallery is 10,000 square feet. It is perhaps daunting at first with rooms that beget rooms that invite you to easily spend hours winding through hallways, closets, and hidden nooks. (I was startled by Kazuhiro Tsuji’s larger than life Salvador Dali sculpture when I last visited.) I kick myself for not getting this post up in time for the recently closed retrospectives of Rob T. Williams and Juxtapoz Magazine. Here is LAMAG’s interview with Williams for the exhibit.
When I visit LAMAG I am reminded that this is one of my favorite galleries in Los Angeles. It is extensive and well curated. I always learn about new artists and artistic movements that started in this city. I recommend popping inside if you are in Los Feliz.
The next exhibit opens on May 17th and the exhibits are always FREE.
One of the best ways to enjoy Barnsdall Art Park, and one of my personal favorite things to do in L.A., is the Friday night wine tastings. This series starts in a couple weeks, on May 22, and lasts until the beginning of September. Here you can enjoy the fantastic views of the Observatory or the palm tree dotted horizon while the sun is setting with a glass of great wine curated from the people of Silver Lake Wine. Four liberal pours running from the lightly yellow hued whites to the deepest burgundy come in these etched collector wine glasses that are yours to keep. Picnic blankets fill the lawn, DJs provide music, and food trucks provide dinner. (If you haven’t packed your own.) Don’t forget that LAMAG and Hollyhock stay open for you to explore.
$30 per person and tickets go on sale to the general public in May.
These are really only the highlights of what Barnsdall Art Park has to offer. There is a weekly farmer’s market, family nights, art classes for kids and adults, and an endless list of events. You should subscribe to their newsletter or follow them on facebook. Sign up is on their website.
[Getting here: In Los Feliz it is sometimes hard to find a place to park, luckily it is pretty accessible when it comes to public transportation. It is on the red line and also served by an amazing amount of bus lines. 2/302, 180, 206, 217, 780, 754 and the Hollywood Dash. If you are close to the Santa Monica Blvd 4/704, it is a bit of a walk, but not too bad]