Petroleum mogul Dr. Armand Hammer clung to life just long enough to see The Hammer Museum make its debut in 1990, passing away three weeks later. Without the founder’s support, construction screeched to a halt and spaces sat in varying states of completion. But not for long. The powers that be at UCLA saw Hammer’s vision, and took control of the abandoned museum in 1994. They restored it to its former glory by importing the university’s own collections and staff. Today, The Hammer’s unique compendium of works still hints at the unlikely collaboration that bore the museum all those years ago. Its stockpile of masterpieces explores the modern-day in a contemporary collection of mostly drawings and photographs. Richard Hawkins’ disembodied zombie george green might best embody current artistic trends; his expressionless eyes stare from a yellow backdrop, the handiwork of an undead inkjet printer. Meanwhile, the Armand Hammer Collection, left behind by the museum’s namesake, balances george and other outlandish works with 19th-century art by Degas, Cézanne, and van Gogh. It’s virtually impossible to predict whether rotating exhibits will land in classic or contemporary camps. They range from performance art installations—Floor of the Forest depicts two dancers moving through hanging jumbles of used clothing and ropes—to sculptures, paintings, and drawings. To cultivate better artistic understanding, the Hammer Museum hosts events including lunchtime art talks, tours, and screenings.
A giant forest stretches across most of California?but its impossible to hike there. Submerged just off of the state's rocky coast, large kelp forests make a home to diverse animal and plant life. Moray eels, leopard sharks, and giant sea bass all swim beneath the water, while sea otters splash at the surface. That's just one of the habitats on display inside the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
The 21,000-square-foot aquarium showcases Southern California's rich marine life, making it the largest aquarium of its kind in the world. The Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Exhibit Hall charts a journey through different regions, from the open ocean, to the mudflats, to the sandy shores. Other areas present a more immersive experience. The tide pool lets visitors touch a starfish, while the exploration center lets them crawl into a tunnel, where they find themselves surrounded by octopuses, sting rays, and other creatures that have signed contracts to make public appearances.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium wants to keep all of these creatures around for the long term. Case and point: the aquarium houses a research library and an aquatic nursery, where the team raises young sea animals and trains young scientists.
In the late 1980s, the Simon Wiesenthal Center gathered top museum leaders and representatives to discuss new ways of teaching tolerance to a younger generation. Since 1993, the Museum of Tolerance has encouraged visitors to contemplate the effects of intolerance with interactive exhibits on the Holocaust as well as present-day discrimination. The guided, 70-minute sound-and-light presentation at the Holocaust exhibit recreates Nazi-occupied Europe, and the Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves exhibit showcases diversity through the personal histories of several American celebrities, including Billy Crystal and Carlos Santana. Some of the museum's features also examine more recent issues, such as the Tolerancenter, which highlights the struggles of the civil-rights movement and enlightens museum goers on contemporary human-rights violations. The museum also hosts special exhibitions, live testimonies from Holocaust survivors, and youth programs, such as anti-bullying workshops.
Photographer Stuart Townsley uses a trained eye and high-tech equipment to capture memories into frameworthy prints and digital art, using 10 of LA's most attractive landmarks as backdrops. The famed local sites where he sets up camp—such as the roaring Pacific Ocean under Santa Monica Pier or the 1930s architecture and picturesque fountain of Union Station—elegantly complement subjects' smiling visages. His shutter snaps hundreds of times during each photo shoot, immortalizing the faces, poses, and secret handshakes of families and well-behaved pets. Well-versed in state-of-the-art retouching gear, Stuart unfurls his astutely edited creations onto glossy prints, canvases, and online albums.
Stuart's advice on what to wear and bring to shoots, garnered through 12 years of professional experience, conveniently resides online to aid in the selection of appropriate outfits for every mother, father, child, or hamster.
Since its inception in 1979, The Museum of Contemporary Art has devoted itself to post-1940 artwork, a focus that sets it apart from all other Los Angeles museums. Its permanent collection harbors more than 5,000 art objects, encompassing media from video installations and documentary photography to pop art. Works from renowned artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Diane Arbus share gallery space with pieces from up-and-coming artists across the museum’s three facilities.
To complement its permanent collection, the museum hosts rotating temporary exhibits, such as the current Mike Kelley exhibit, which explores american pop culture through irreverent, multimedia pieces. The museum staff also augments these displays with events, such as their screening series in collaboration with the Los Angeles Filmforum, which explores the intersection of experimental film and art like a projection screen sewn with pages from DaVinci’s journal.
Led by Allen Levin, an experienced actor, producer, and writer, Lifebook Acting Class’s celebrity-extolled workshops impart budding performers with the art of dramatization. Stratified into three levels ranging from orientation to advanced, classes for aspiring professionals mix improv and character building with career coaching to prevent missteps such as starring in a western with talking tumbleweeds. Acting hobbyists develop comedic and dramatic talents in Acting for Non-Actors and First Timers, a self-confidence strengthening romp through the basics of theatrics. For those with proven celebrity or one major credit to their name, the Master Class sharpens already deadly dialogue skills into a force to be reckoned with in time for a prized audition, starring role, or first meeting with future in-laws.