The Getty Center offers visitors culture in true "western style": large, wide-open,
and great views in every direction. The center, which focuses on fine arts, is
a combination museum, educational center, research facility, and architectural
masterpiece. It is spread out over hundreds of acres in the Santa Monica Mountains
with views of ocean, city, and mountains.
The center was designed by renowned architect, Richard Meier. He wed his
"Modernist" style with the facility's classical material to unite the Getty's
"roots in the past and belief in the future". The result is a total sensory
experience for the visitor: great mountaintop views, beautiful gardens, buildings
and architecture which are truly one-of-a-kind, and of course classical works
of art from ancient Greece to the present.
Great but hazy views in every direction.
(Left), the crest of the Santa Monica mountains.
(Right), a travertine portal frames a view towards the ocean.
The buildings and devices interact with many of the views around the facility
as part of the architect's "city-as-art" concept.
(Left), the skyline of downtown
Los Angeles below the cactus garden.
Architect Meier makes frequent and fascinating use of metaphors to relate his works to the
surrounding environment as well as the interior contents. The Cactus Garden (shown
right) is full of hidden meanings. It is the southern anchor of the facility
and represents the desert to the south(east). (The northern anchor features pine trees.)
The various varieties of cacti which are mixed together but still in distinct
groups represents the diversity of Los Angeles ("separate but together").
(Left), the ivied (dormant in winter) wall is part of the manuscripts
building. The link is that early European manuscripts traditionally had ivy
or other floral designs on page margins enclosing the printed text. (Below left),
the large, dark marble block symbolizes that this building contains hung paintings.
(Right), a fossil leaf appears in a slab of travertine. I don't think it's
a symbol for anything!
The enormous affluence of the facility is owed to the late oil tycoon, J. Paul
Getty, who left his entire fortune to a trust for the purpose of promoting
the public's appreciation of the fine arts.
Admission to this wonderful facility is free except for parking.
Parking reservations are no longer required. On-site parking is based on availability.
Numerous walking tours (all free) are provided by docents to explain
the center's many features. For more information, visit
the Getty Center Web Site.
(Left), the 120 foot linear fountain in the center's main plaza. The water flows
the entire length of the right side in thin streams. (More visible in the enlargement.)
(Right), part of the Central Garden area. Note the waterfall in the center. (Below),
a maze of azaleas in a reflecting pool is the core of the Central Garden.
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