The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. LACMA is on Museum Row, and is adjacent to the George C. Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. It attracts nearly a million visitors annually. Its holdings of more than 100,000 works span the history of art from ancient times to the present. In addition to art exhibits, the museum features film and concert series.
The museum's best-attended show ever was "Treasures of Tutankhamun," which drew 1.2 million during four months in 1978. The 2005 "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" drew 937,613 during its 137-Day run. A show of Vincent van Gogh masterpieces from the artist's eponymous Amsterdam museum is the third most successful show, and a 1984 exhibition of French Impressionist works is fourth. Since the arrival of current director Michal Govan, about 60% of just over 100 featured temporary exhibitions have been of Modern or contemporary art while the permanent display ends in the early 1970s. More recent exhibits, fousing on popular culture and enterntainment, have also been well-received, both by critics and patrons. Exhibits devoted to the works of movie-directors Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick drew especially positive reactions and responses.
LACMA's more than 100,000 objects are divided among its numerous departments by region, media, and time period and are spread amongst the various museum buildings.
Modern and Contemporary Art: The Modern Art collection is displayed in the Ahmanson Building which was renovated in 2008 to have a new entrance featuring a large staircase, conceived as a gathering place similar to Rome's Spanish Steps. Filling the atrium at the base of the staircase is Tony Smith's massive sculpture Smoke (1967). The plaza level galleries also house African art and a gallery highlighting the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies.
American and Latin American art: The Art of the Americas Building has American, Latin American and pre-Columbian collections displayed on the second floor and temporary exhibition space on the first floor. Formerly known as the Anderson Building, the Art of the Americas Building comprises galleries for art from North, Central and South America. LACMA's Latin American Art galleries reopened in July 2008 after several years renovation. The Latin American collection includes pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, Modern and contemporary works. Many recent additions to the collection were financed by sales of works from an 1,800-piece holding of 20th century Mexican art compiled by dealer-collectors Bernard and Edith Lewin and given to the museum in 1997.
Asian art: The Hammer Building houses the Chinese and Korean collections. The Korean art collection began with the donation of a group of Korean ceramics in 1966 by Bak Jeonghui, then president of the Republic of Korea, after a visit to the museum. LACMA today claims to have the most comprehensive holding outside of Korea and Japan. The Pavilion For Japanese Art displays the Shin'enkan collection donated by Joe D. Price. In 1999, LACMA trustee Eric Lidow and his wife, Leza, donated 75 ancient Chinese works valued at a total of $3.5 million, including important bronze objects and prime examples of Buddhist sculpture.
Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art: The second floor of the Ahmanson Building has Greek and Roman Art galleries. A large portion of the museum’s ancient Greek and Roman art collection was donated by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing magnate, in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Decorative arts and design: In 1990, Max Palevsky gave 32 pieces of Arts and Crafts furniture to LACMA ; three years later, he added an additional 42 pieces to his gift. In 2000, he donated $2 million to LACMA for Arts and Crafts works. He supplied about a third of the 300 objects displayed in a 2004–05 LACMA exhibit, "The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America: 1880–1920" and in 2009, the museum presented "The Arts and Crafts Movement: Masterworks From the Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans Collection." With a single acquisition in 2009, LACMA became a major center for the study and display of 18th- and 19th-century European clothing when it bought the holdings of dealers Martin Kamer of London and Wolfgang Ruf of Beckenried, Switzerland – about 250 outfits and 300 accessories created between 1700 and 1915 including men's three-piece suits, women's dresses, children's garb and a vast array of shoes, hats, purses, shawls, fans and undergarments.
Permanent art installations: Los Angeles sculptor Robert Graham created the towering, bronze Retrospective Column (1981, cast in 1986) for the entrance of the Art of the Americas Building. A new contemporary sculpture garden was opened directly east of the museum's Wilshire Boulevard entrance in 1991, including large-scale outdoor sculptures by Alice Aycock, Ellsworth Kelly, Henry Moore and others. The centerpiece of the garden is Alexander Calder's three-piece mobile Hello Girls, commissioned by a women's museum-support group for the museum's opening in 1965. Situated in a curving reflecting pool, the mobile has brightly colored paddles that are moved by jets of water.