The Getty Museum & Gardens, Los Angeles

Martyn White

Posted on October 16 2019

A space to relax, appreciate art and sculpture and take in those impressive views, The Getty Center Gardens are as much of an iconic destination as the museum itself. 


When asking people for suggestions of things to do when visiting Los Angeles, its often The Getty Center and Gardens that comes at the top of that list, bringing a smile to people's faces as they remember the experience. Forget the Hollywood sign, the celebrity walks and Universal Studios, classic staples of a Los Angeles visit, The Getty Center and Gardens provides art, culture, architecture and a beautiful collection of gardens to explore, not forgetting the breathtaking views that look out across the county. 

The Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles California

The grounds are made up of several gardens for visitors to explore, including a cactus garden, two sculpture parks and the iconic Central Garden; a 34,000-square-foot work of art designed by American installation artist, Robert Irwin. Described as "a sculpture in the form of a garden", water takes on a central role of its formation with pathways, trees and foliage intertwining around a stream that cascades into a circular pool with a maze of azalea shrubs at its heart. Surrounding the Central Garden are several speciality spaces that invigorate the senses with herbs, florals and sculptural additions. Carved into a stepping stone is the quote "Always changing, never twice the same", the very ethos of the space,  reminding guests of the ever-changing nature of this living work of art.

The Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles California

A personal favourite is the Cactus garden located between the East and West Pavilions. The area incorporates architectural aspects into its design, such as steps and walls that divide spaces from one another and window cutouts that frame the mesmerising views over the city. The garden contains a variety of cacti, succulents, and plants from a desert terrain, providing contrast to the soft florals seen in the main grounds. 

The center plays host to three separate sculpture destinations - the Lower Terrace Sculpture garden and the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace and Garden. The Lower Terrace exhibits works by modern artists such as Henry Moore and Elisabeth Frink paired alongside vibrant and colourful florals. The Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Terrace showcases the shift from figurative sculptures to ones of abstract design including artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Rene Magritte. Last but not least, the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture contain abstract works by Joan Miró and Alexander Calder to name a few, set against the skyline of Los Angeles in the distance.

The Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles CaliforniaThe Getty Museum and Gardens Los Angeles California

Continually transforming throughout the year, the Getty Center has something for everyone of all ages, providing a complete package for those looking to experience a little more from what Los Angeles has to offer. The center is free to enter, along with the Getty Villa located at the easterly end of the Malibu coast in the Pacific Palisades, approximately 25 minutes away by car. As an avid fan of art, culture and architecture, this destination will be the first place I visit on my next return. 

For further information on the grounds and museum, click to view the official Getty website via the link. 



 



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