Guide

Los Angeles’ Under-the-Radar Art Gems

by Susan Marque

posted on January 17, 2019

Great art is all around LA: The Getty, LACMA, and The Hammer Museum barely scratch the surface. For an off-the-beaten path, look to these hidden gems including collections housed in everything from a former Masonic temple to the private Holmby Hills estate of one of Los Angeles most prominent art collectors.

Adamson House Museum

Built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, Malibu’s Adamson House boasts original painted ceilings, an incredible amount of colorful tiles, and beautifully-landscaped grounds (don’t miss the Friday morning garden tour!). A popular wedding site, this National Historic Site is open to the public, and provides a fascinating glimpse at old California and Malibu’s history.

Maurice and Paul Marciano Art Foundation

From the front of the building, this Masonic temple looks abandoned, but if you go around the back through the parking lot, you’ll find the Maricano Art Museum and its collection of contemporary art. Murals were painted by a Warner Brother’s scenic painter and exhibitions range from well-known artists such as Kusama (of infinity room fame) and Bunny Rogers, to notable newcomers like Peppi Bottrop. Highlighting the unusual setting, one room also explores the Masonic origins of the building with artifacts left from the original tenants.

Fine Arts Building

In the heart of downtown LA stands a spectacularly ornate building, complete with sculptures and Italian-influenced details. A working office building, like NYC’s Woolworth Building, a visit is as much about seeing the architecture as the art on display. Installations in the lobby change frequently, ranging from contemporary sculpture to photography exhibits, with free opening receptions on the second Thursday of each month.

Frederick R Weisman Art Foundation

A private Holmby Hills estate now open to the public via docent-led tours, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation boasts an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art including works from the likes of Cezanne, Rothko, Magritte, Lichtenstein, and Warhol. On display are more than 400 pieces; visitors also can take in the original furnishings, gardens, and grounds. Do note that a visit is for your eyes only: cameras, phones, and bags aren't allowed, and reservations are required.

The Los Angeles Public Library

Open for free to the public, the Central Library Downtown Los Angeles has on display in its galleries as much art as some museums. Make a stop as you explore DTLA or go on a tour for more context to the collection and this beautiful art deco building.

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