December 1, 2017

Getty Center Hosts Special David Hockney Exhibition

IMG_3874The Getty Center in Los Angeles is the kind of place that once you’ve been there, you know you have to go back. Again. And again. And again. And for about half of my 50 Daytripper Tours passengers our recent visit was indeed a repeat one. As one of the most visited museums in the United States and one of the richest museums in the world, The Getty always offers something new. On this particular tour, the “something new” was an exhibition of select pieces by one of Britain’s most influential artists, David Hockney. The November weather could not have been nicer as driver Joaquin drove us north from San Diego to Los Angeles.  The temperature climbed into the mid-70s under mostly sunny sky with a few brushstrokes of cirrus clouds adding interest to the blue background. The photographers on board were in heaven.  We could see The Getty Center ahead before we arrived, perched on a Brentwood hilltop overlooking the 405 freeway.  At 900 feet above sea level, it is high enough that on a clear day the views are incredible—the L.A. skyline to the south, the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains to the east, and out to the west, the blue Pacific Ocean. The Getty Center opened to the public in 1997 at a cost of $1.3 billion and is well-known for its architecture, gardens and those amazing vistas overlooking IMG_3860Los Angeles. To get to the campus Joaquin had to park the coach at the bottom of the hill from where we boarded a 3-car, cable-pulled funicular (otherwise known as the Getty tram) to the top of the hill. Lunch was first on the agenda for several passengers and with 2 cafés and 1 restaurant to choose from, all were satisfied. The fine weather lured many of us to eat outside. Some Daytrippers took in the orientation film, others joined a docent-led architectural, garden or highlights tour, and still others just explored the four pavilions, or the Central Garden. The flowering maze of 400 azalea plants surrounded by water is the highlight of the Central Garden, “a sculpture in the form of a garden aspiring to be art,” as it is called by the artist Robert Irwin who created it.  Inside, many passengers made their way to the West Gallery to gaze upon one of the Getty’s most prized possessions, the painting “Irises” by Vincent Van Gogh. In the Museum Store, the image of irises could be seen on scarves, coffee mugs, writing tablets, magnets, tote bags…you name it, you could find it. IMG_3869The special David Hockney exhibit to celebrate his 80th birthday was 2-part. Upstairs, it included self-portraits made over the past 65 years and downstairs we saw several of his photographic montages from the 1980’s that Hockney called “drawing with his camera.”  It was interesting to learn that the first floor galleries in each pavillion housed the light-sensitive art such as illuminated manuscripts, furniture or photography.  It was definitely dark in these rooms. Computer controlled skylights on the second floor galleries allowed paintings to be displayed in natural light.  The works of Cézanne, Rembrandt and Fragonard never looked lovelier.  All too soon, the golden light of the setting sun reminded us that the afternoon was drawing to a close. Time for a few more photographs in this perfect light and we had to re-board the Getty tram for the ride to the bottom of the hill. I wonder how many people saw the large deer lying as still as a statue on the hillside as we descended. Or maybe it WAS a statue. On a day like this with Daytrippers, art is life and life is art.  Or as the philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

IMG_3858– Pat Brown
Tour: Getty Center: David Hockney 85th Birthday Exhibition
Date: November 18, 2017


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