A new year is about to start, and this is the time to make some resolutions. If one of your goals is to become a more cultured and art-savvy consumer, the museums in Los Angeles are the best place to start. Following are five museum exhibits that should keep you excited and learning about art until April of 2013.
The Last Days of Pompeii
The Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Price: free/$15 parking
There are just two weeks left to enjoy The Last Days of Pompeii exhibit at The Getty. The collection got its name from the 1834 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, which is set in Pompeii just prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. This natural disaster has been a constant source of inspiration for artists — Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, James Hamilton, among them — and more than 60 of their paintings, plus photographs and artifacts, are part of this exhibition that continues until Jan. 7.
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Lola Alvarez Bravo: The Photography of an Era
Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Price: $9 adults/$6 seniors and students/free members and children under 12 and every Sunday
Until Jan. 20, the Museum of Latin American Art displays the work of Lola Alvarez Bravo, one of Mexico’s most renowned photographers of the last century. Along with other well-known people including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Bravo was a key part of Mexico’s artistic rebirth after the revolution. The exhibit includes photographs not previously seen by the public. It also includes vintage prints by her famous husband, photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, as well as the work of some of her students to show the influence of her technique in the trade.
Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and his Legacy
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Price: $15 adults/$10 seniors and students/free under 18 and members, second Tuesday of the month, after 3 p.m. for LA county residents, and on federal holidays
His full name was Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and he reached only 39 years old. However, during his short life, Caravaggio developed a technique using lighting (chiaroscuro) that revolutionized the art scene of his time and that many artists would follow for years to come. The exhibit at LACMA, which will continue until Feb. 10, contains eight Caravaggio paintings plus 48 others created by artists who continued the legacy of his style. Because of his influence in the art world, Caravaggio is often compared in importance with the likes of Michelangelo and da Vinci.
Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Price: $10 adults/$7 seniors 62 and older/free children 18 and younger, students with valid ID, active military personnel with ID, and every first Friday of the month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Finished in August of 1889, less than a year before his death, this Van Gogh self portrait is on loan to the Norton Simon Museum from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The painting, with its complementary oranges over blues, was the first of Van Gogh’s works to put him in the spotlight. It was the central piece at a major exhibition in Cologne, Germany in 1912, where critics and art historians celebrated the careers of the three greats of the moment, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin. Van Gogh painted about 36 self portraits, but only in three did he paint himself next to brushes and paint, specifically establishing himself as a painter. The exhibit continues until March 4.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108
Price: $20 to $23 adults/$15 to $18 seniors 65 and older/$12 to $13 students 12 to 18 or with full time student ID/$8 youth 5 to 11/free children younger than 5, members and first Thursday of every month with advance ticket.
Maurice Merlin lived only 38 years. His life was cut short by cancer in 1947, and yet he left a healthy collection of posters, watercolors and paintings depicting the African American experience in Detroit and elsewhere in the country during the 1930s. This is the first exhibit dedicated to Merlin’s art, with approximately 30 of his works displayed, and it also includes nine works by other Detroit artists who are proof of the lively art scene to which Merlin belonged while employed by the federal government’s Works Progress Administration. This exhibit opens Jan. 19 and continues until April 15 in the Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.
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Dena Burroughs is a freelance writer living in Azusa, CA. She is a CSULA graduate with specialties in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.