Saturday, June 20, 2009

The J. Paul Getty Center

We went to the Getty Center museum in North Hollywood yesterday. This is what we learned;

1. Museums with a baby are not at the top of the list of great ideas. Nonetheless, the staff was very friendly and accommodating and he LOVED the wide open spaces and the Family Room they have set up complete with a mini-replica of a fancy French Roccoco bed on display in another section of the museum, cool mirrors and lenses, and a mask coloring station. But his favorite, by far was the choo-choo; the tram you ride from the parking area up to the museum villa itself. He was beside himself with excitement. It was endearing.

1.a) The Getty museum is excellently well-staffed. Every gallery had a "guard," every entrance a "greeter," every nook and cranny someone to help. We were most impressed.

1.b) The Getty also has very pleasantly-smelling bathrooms, and a decent changing station. Not always so easy to come by.

1.c) And the gardens are lovely. (Except the cactus garden which, really, can't have been intended to be spectacular - they're cacti, after all.)

2. History is (still) vast, intense and (almost) incomprehensibly complex.

2.a) I liked the French Decorative Arts (1700-1780) displays the best. I think this was also true of the last time I was there (when my best friend R. and I skipped the Olympics to explore southern California's vast array of museums).

3. Back in the day, the distribution of wealth was so much different from today. For example, very very very few of us would ever be able to afford custom inlaid, paneled walls in our salons, intricate wood floor inlay, authentic French decorative silver (enough for clean dishes through 7 courses for a 40+ dinner party), or crazy fancy draperies, tapestries or other "decorative" pieces. However, most of us can afford a car, a modest home and decent food - without being sub-servient peasant slaves to the uber-rich. Not a bad switch of things, really.

3.a) Still, I think it would be pretty neat to have marble-topped gold-inlaid sideboard. Just sayin.'

3.b) But then, I'd have to have uber-fancy everything else to go with it - table, chairs, draperies, wall paper, floors, chandeliers, china, silver, dresses... ok. I give up. I'll stick with what I've got.

4. Some art, I'll just never really understand or fully appreciate.

4.a) Mostly of the contemporary-genre.

5. LA is smoggy. The view from the Getty should have been spectacular. Instead it was mostly hazy and hard to make out (sigh).

6. LA traffic is horrendous. Horr. En. Dous. And that's enough about that.

Still, all that said, it was a fun family outing. It's always nice to get a bit of "culture" and nicer to just get away for a few hours and see something new. Thanks for driving, babe.

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