Tag Archives: downtown la

Entrance to MOCA / Geffen Contemporary 

We’re not religious. But museums are our cathedrals, our churches and temples, our shrines. MoMA may be the modern art world’s Vatican, but in terms of pure open space, MoCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles comes closest to a giant cathedral like Notre Dame with its massive, cavernous structure. We’re not saying that this museum is equivalent to Notre Dame as far as degree of architectural achievement and historical significance. We’re saying that it is a big fucking space and one that invites reflection and a kind of awe.

The Geffen was kind of a happy accident. The building wasn’t purpose built to be a contemporary art museum. The structure is in LIttle Tokyo in Downtown LA and was originally built in the 1940s for the city as a warehouse and LA Police Department garage accommodating hundreds of vehicles. At the time, MoCA’s use of the space was purely practical.

While the main landmark MoCA branch was being built on nearby Grand Avenue in the early 1980s, the warehouse/garage in Little Tokyo was used as a temporary exhibition space dubbed the “Temporary Contemporary.” Its purpose was to host art shows until construction of the new main MoCA would be completed. The acquisition of the building made sense. The Temporary Contemporary was a success.

It was repurposed as a permanent exhibition space and extension of MoCA. Architect Frank Gehry led the effort. The Geffen’s location is walking distance to the main MoCA location in Downtown LA, and the former LAPD garage offers the kind of space that allows for sprawling exhibitions and epic, large-scale sculptural artworks and installations that might be more diffciult or impossible to mount in other museums. 

Street Art at Zinc … Arts District, Los Angeles

Black-and-white photo-realistic portraits on the exterior wall of Zinc Cafe, near Willow and Mateo streets in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. These artworks are part of a series that run along the entire wall. The area has become a bit of a mecca for street art — and art in general — in recent years amid the rapid gentrification of the area and the growth in the number of entertainment production companies that have set up offices in the neighborhood.

Street Art by Esoteric Truth … Arts District, Los Angeles

This wheat-pasted stenciled artwork by the artist who goes by the moniker “Esoteric Truth” can be found near the corner of Mateo and Willow streets in the Downtown Los Angeles  Arts District.

In Los Angeles … The New Broad Museum Building

The edgy contemporary architecture of the newly constructed Broad Museum building, a new contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles. The building was designed by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The museum will open in September 2015.

      

Los Angeles Architecture … The Shiny Tower at L.A. Live

The glass-and-steel tower at the L.A. Live building complex in Los Angeles is an imposing presence on the skyline as you approach city’s downtown from almost every direction but the north. The building is the first major new skyscraper in L.A. since 1992. Since it’s completion a few years ago, it has become an unmistakeable if unadventurous and uninspired part of L.A.’s architectural identity. Whatever people think of it, it’s a huge structure by skyscraper-shy L.A. standards. The building is home to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and at night its edges light up with  strings of lights that outline the tower’s shape and dynamically change over time.

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