Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Museum in West Hollywood & Mid-City

Image by Walter Bibikow Getty Images

The depth and wealth of the collection at the largest museum in the western US is stunning. LACMA holds all the major players – Rembrandt, Cézanne, Magritte, Mary Cassatt, Ansel Adams – plus millennia's worth of Chinese, Japanese, pre-Columbian and ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian sculpture. Recent acquisitions include massive outdoor installations such as Chris Burden's Urban Light (a surreal selfie backdrop of hundreds of vintage LA streetlamps) and Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass, a surprisingly inspirational 340-ton boulder perched over a walkway.

Between 2008 and 2010, architect Renzo Piano designed two of the newer gallery buildings on the western side of the campus (the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and the Resnick Pavilion, which hosts temporary exhibits).

The rest of the campus is now about to see a major makeover, courtesy of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Renovation plans call for most of the current mid-century pavilions (so in need of work as to be untenable) to be razed and airy, cantilevered galleries to replace them, straddling Wilshire Blvd. The redesign is scheduled for completion in 2023. Until then, some of the galleries will remain open (thankfully the jewel-box Pavilion for Japanese Art is staying put) and parts of the collection will be exhibited elsewhere around LA.

Check the website for construction schedules and to learn which galleries will remain open during the renovation.

Currently under construction adjacent to and behind LACMA is the Academy Museum, operated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars people). It's scheduled to open in 2019.