Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Visit to the Getty

Last weekend my friend Gina came to town and we (finally) made it to The Getty Center. Since this is a design blog, and The Getty (as it is commonly referred to) is all about art I figured this would be something I could totally blog about. I had heard a lot of talk about the Getty prior to going but wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that you had to park at the bottom of the hill and take the tram to the top, and that it had an amazing view, but outside of that I hadn’t heard much else.

Well we got there, took the tram and were completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of The Getty Center. You walk into the visitor center only to walk back outside into a giant courtyard complete with fountains (yes fountains plural) and a really wonderful garden. The garden and architecture there are as much a part of the art as the exhibits themselves…which is why I took PICTURES!! Well that, and the fact that the outside is really the only place you’re allowed to take pictures.

Gina and I, being the nerds that we are (well at least I'm a nerd) spent the extra $5 on the audio tour headset. If we were going to be there we might as well learn a thing or two! I won’t bore you with everything we saw I’ll just quickly touch on the highlights:

Paris: Life & Luxury was absolutely fantastic. I loved seeing the clothing and all of the craftsmanship that went into the tables and clocks that were made during that time. I picked a couple of my favorite things to show you (thanks to the images on the Getty’s website). First is this amazing clock, it tells the time, the date, the position of the moon, the tides and I think the location of planets. It’s pretty much a computer! Then of course this dress, I would totally wear this… if I were French and lived during the 1700s. The detailing on this dress is amazing, and I know they didn’t have sewing machines back then, meaning someone spent a lot of time making this dress for someone else.

Fashion in the Middle Ages was not at all what I was expecting. When you read that you think, ok I’m going to see clothes, and you did…except they were tiny hand drawn pictures of people wearing the clothes in books. Honestly, I could care less about their clothes, but the craftsmanship that went into drawing…no guys really, HAND DRAWING!!! pages and pages of literature is stunning. The pages are lined with gold and sparkle. These are books that were made in the middle ages and they still sparkle! How many of your things still sparkle? The picture below is not my favorite page (and you can’t see the sparkle) but it still gets my point across…hand drawn…HAND DRAWN!!

One of my favorite statues wasn’t part of a big exhibit, it’s one of the many things that are just always there (or at least I think they’re always there). It is the 3 statues called Three Goddesses by Joseph Nollekens. These three marble statues represent Minerva, Juno and Venus while being judged by Paris. Gina and I spent a good amount of time admiring these statues (plus the audio tour was really long for this particular exhibit) and what was amazing was that even after a third and fourth lap around them we were still finding things we hadn’t noticed before. Plus the level of detail that went into these statues is unbelievable. It was almost as if Venus had been turned into a statue in the middle of removing her shoes, it seemed that real (there was another artist in the building who had actually taken real spiders and cast them so that he could put them on his creepy giant 10 foot vase. I’ll let you go to the Getty to see that one all on your own).

The Getty was really great, and their food is pretty good too (and with the view that comes with it you totally don’t mind sitting for just a minute it and enjoying doing nothing). Did I mention you can get wine there!? I don’t think you can bring it with you into the exhibits but still, wine, art and a cheese platter, who looks classy now!

For more information on the Getty you can check it out here. It’s $15 to park (at least when I went) and admission is FREE (you have to put that in all caps, I’m pretty sure it’s a rule).

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