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Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Afternoon At The Getty

It's hard to believe that until last Saturday, I have yet to visit the new J. Paul Getty museum. I've been to the villas back in the 90's but never to the new location on the hill.

A beautiful sunny, crisp day on a Saturday would be a wonderful time to go, I thought. Who could be there on a weekend right after the new year? I am sure people are still home recovering from the New Year...right? Well, no...that wasn't the case. The good news was that the freeways were clear. It was unbelievable, really.

I have to say, I was not prepared for what was next.

I've been to local city museums on my travels. Most of the time, they are empty which makes for a pleasant art viewing experience. The Getty was a different story. It took about an hour to park, waiting in line. After that, you wait in another line to get on the tram. Once you are off of the tram at the top, you are FREE!

The property is beautiful, I must say. There are gorgeous views from all sides and you can get lost looking at all of the exhibits, which I did. I particularly liked the Irving Penn: Small Trades gallery.

A little bit about Irving Penn: "Working in Paris, London, and New York in the early 1950s, photographer Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009) created masterful representations of skilled tradespeople dressed in work clothes and carrying the tools of their occupations. A neutral backdrop and natural light provided the stage on which his subjects could present themselves with dignity and pride. Penn revisited his Small Trades series over many decades, producing evermore-exacting prints, including platinum/palladium enlargements. In 2008 the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired the most comprehensive group of these images, carefully selected by the photographer—155 gelatin silver prints and 97 platinum/palladium prints—that are being exhibited in their entirety for the first time."

Although they do allow you to photograph inside of the museum, I enjoyed taking pictures of the cactus and flowers outside of the property the most. I think that was the highlight for me on this day trip. It's the simple things I suppose. I heard a hummingbird so I froze, standing in the same spot motionless (as others walked by me), waiting for it to return. For me, that was an exciting moment.

I would recommend a visit to the Getty if you are in the area. If you can, It's a good idea to arrive early on a weekday so you can take your time strolling the property and soaking up the exhibits. Don't forget your camera!

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