We tend to rank art museums based on the importance of their permanent collections, although these rooms also tend to be the quietest and least crowded spaces in the building. “What’s new?” we wonder as we head to the special exhibition galleries to see the latest offering.
In truth, nothing makes me happier than spending time in these calmer galleries, where the objects of the collection become like friends, whom we are happy to see again. Experience is how one develops a special connection with a museum, which may otherwise feel institutionally distant. Lunch at the cafe or shopping at the store can be a fun diversion, but the extra time with the collection is ultimately more satisfying.
Changing and changing exhibits draw attention to art museums in Los Angeles, as they do everywhere else, but together the city’s museums hold hundreds of thousands of captivating works of global art in their collections. Here are a few examples, selected not because they represent the cream (although some do) but because the aesthetic value spreads widely and the major and minor have their own charms. Each is something I find myself coming back to, so the more time you spend, the more they reveal themselves.
Not all museums have permanent the permanent exhibitions of the collection, however, rather change what is visible from the collection with regularity; others have only modest gallery space for it. So before you go, it’s often worth checking the institution’s website if you’re hoping to see a specific object.