Thursday, January 7, 2010
Ever notice how most museums around the world are buffered by gathering spaces? Think of the hordes of tourists snapping establishing shots around the square at Paris' Louvre, students pontificating on the steps of the Met in New York, or cafe patrons recovering from the shock of La Guernica in the small square outside Madrid's Reina Sofia. By contrast, LA's museums feel to me like (wait for it) destination affairs, each a simple car ride away — itself a surreal psuedo-indoor affair separated from the outside world — and featuring ample parking. Without a lively transitional gathering space to properly introduce it, the museum is relegated to the trappings of the routine, a trip there being no different logistically from a trip to the mall or movie theater. In other words, as transcendent as the art may be inside, events immediately outside have been standardized to conform to mundane auto ritual.
Then consider the admirable museum cafe. Try as it might, it remains an officially sanctioned affair trapped in a space aloof to any loitering unrelated to commerce. LA museums to me feel like castles of oblivion, surrounded by moats of asphalt and fed by parking lots either distant or underground. And imagine the situation from nearby retail's point of view: separated by five lanes or more, they see no foot traffic — just the castle wall and no crowd to cater to. The only exception I can think of (little help?) is the MOCA satellite in Little Tokyo, which I find nicely guides me back into its old-world surroundings after a thrilling afternoon of artistic revelation. But elsewhere? I often find myself left with no place to go + nothing left to do but return to my vehicle and plan the next destination. See it narrowed!
Diptych prints available
explore the map
- friday favorites: norwich, united kingdom
- lincoln boulevard + washington boulevard
- reader request: hyperion ave + tracy street
- essay: the clustering instinct
- the grove
- friday favorites: los angeles, california
- eagle rock boulevard + colorado boulevard (II)
- essay: cul-de-sacs remind me of appendicitis
- reader request: 6th street + park view street
- burbank boulevard + van nuys boulevard
- crenshaw boulevard + martin luther king, jr. boule...
- friday favorites: portofino, italy
- silver lake boulevard + effie street, silver lake ...
- essay: looking vs. seeing when visualizing urban r...
- reader request: silver lake boulevard + effie stre...
- reader request: van nuys boulevard + oxnard street...
- reader request: eagle rock boulevard + colorado bo...
- friday favorites: Boston, USA
- wilshire boulevard + orange grove avenue, museum r...
- figueroa street + 12th street, downtown
- documentary: hot cities
- westwood boulevard + pico boulevard, west los ange...
- friday favorites: paris, france
- ▼ January 2010 ( 23 )
About the Photographer
Other sites by David Yoon
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