Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day 13: Getty Museum, Beverly Hills

Getty Baby Freak
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Spent almost the entire afternoon at the Getty Museum, which sits high above the city in the Santa Monica Mountains, clothed in its Richard Meier-designed tunic of Travertine marble. It's probably the most spectacularly designed museum complex I've ever visited. We spent most of the day oohing and ahhing over the design, the view of the city, the formal gardens, et al. Every step you take opens up a wholly new and unique line of site. It is, in a word, breathtaking.

I wish I could say the same for the collection. Apparently Mr. Getty's tastes were a bit conservative. A good portion of the collection is comprised of religious art, with a heavy dose of decorative arts of the European nobility. I took a bunch of photos of the art without paying any attention to thematic relations between objects. What I came up with was a collection of ghastly, ghostly, frightening images (see photo above -- click it to see more of what I mean). If a man's art collection is a window into his soul, J. Paul Getty was a haunted man. I'll say no more.

Afterward we road the monorail down the mountain to our car, which was parked in an underground lot (and which, by the way, contained four reserved spots for electric cars to re-charge. Sadly, they were empty.) We drove the length of Mulholland drive, then down to Sunset Boulevard and finally over to Wilshire, which we took all the way back to Santa Monica. I can't resist all the movie star stuff, but we just drove past it all snapping pictures.

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