You may have heard of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Getty Center, but did you know Los Angeles has a vast array of smaller museums to visit? And what’s great about these small museums is that they expose you to diverse artists and works, which may not often be represented in larger art institutions. While Los Angeles can be very mainstream, it’s no doubt full of culture waiting to be discovered and explored!
Even though the Norton Simon Museum (NSM) is smaller in comparison to LACMA, it is still known to hold one of the most renowned private art collections. For more than 30 years, industrialist Norton Simon compiled an impressive collection of European, Indian and Southeast Asian art, which is now beautifully displayed a short drive away in Pasadena. NSM also houses an immense amount of Modern and Contemporary art from Europe and the United States. It is currently displaying Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom” on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago until March 6. You can view their hours and admission prices here.
This morbid museum located on Hollywood Boulevard is not for the faint of heart. Owners J.D. Healy and Catherine Shultz are said to have opened this museum after they collected multiple artifacts from famous serial killers, which they had been writing letters to. Artifacts include artwork from serial killers, crime scene photos, electric chairs and many more creepy items. Let’s just say you walk out feeling very thankful to be alive. Admission is $15 and you can click here to view their hours.
If you’re looking for some Instagram-worthy photos, look no further than the Museum of Neon Art (MONA). After multiple location changes, MONA found its permanent home in Glendale near the Americana at Brand back in February 2016. This quirky museum features neon signage from all around the world, such as the Pep Boys Company sign of Manny, Moe & Jack and Winchell’s classic Donut House sign. Come see what all the buzz is about. Check out their hours of operation and prices here.
A+D found its home in the Arts District of Downtown LA back in 2015. A+D’s mission is to “celebrate and promote an awareness of progressive architecture and design in everyday life”. Their current exhibits will be on display until April 9 and include “Graffiti Saved my Life: The Photography of James Prigoff,” which showcases street art and public murals found throughout the world, and ULCA’s “cityLAb, times 10” which focuses on the innovative designs found throughout LA. Admission for students is $5 and you can view their hours of operation here.
The Hammer Museum at UCLA, which was founded in 1900 by Armand Hammer, is known to be one the leading venues for emerging and up-and-coming artists. It also houses an impressive permanent collection that includes artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. Fun fact: admission to all exhibits and programs are always free and open to the public, but be sure to check their hours here before you go.
This museum curated by pure heartbreak opened its doors in the heart of Hollywood back in May 2016. The memorabilia collected for the museum was acquired from donations around the world because heartbreak knows no boundaries. Breakups can be hard, but here you’ll feel a little connected knowing that you’re not in this alone. You can view some of the collection here to get an idea of what you’ll be seeing. Student admission is $15 and you can check their hours here.