Modern art lover’s rejoice!
Los Angeles is home to some of the best art museums and galleries to date and for the most part, they are absolutely FREE to the public.
An art lover myself, I took advantage of all the free museum days, visited respected galleries (just about all galleries are free) and attended some smashing events, all at no cost.
This is proof that amazing art spaces exist in our city and you don’t need to spend a single penny to get a does of inspiration.
I’m here to tell you about 15 free things to do in L.A. if you love modern art, in hopes to encourage you to explore parts of our city recognized for modern art.
List starts after the jump in no particular order.
BCAM At The LACMA
The Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA houses a collection of modern art. Exhibits from world renowned artist like James Turrell, Chris Burden, Andy Warhol to John Baldessari and David Hockney have all shown at BCAM. Los Angeles County residents can get into LACMA for free after 3:00pm all weekdays they are open and free admission is offered to everyone the second Tuesday of each month.
Bonus: Several free art installations are on view outside the museum like Chris Burdens: Urban Lights in front of the museum and Levitated Mass behind the BCAM.
Go to the DTLA Art Walk
The Downtown Art Walk has been an L.A. cultural phenomenon bringing in art enthusiasts and locals together every second Thursday of each month. Art galleries, shops, bars and more open up for one big party celebrating art and the iconic DTLA for one fine night, usually with a theme involved.
Founded in 1989 Regen Projects is a contemporary art gallery housing works from artist like Matthew Barney, Raymond Pettibond, and Wolfgang Tillsman. The gallery is located near West Hollywood in a big stark white building.
Probably the most talked about art museum in recent time, The Broad ‘s collection of contemporary art is a modern art lovers dream. Here you can find works from Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg,Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, to Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama’s- who created the Infinity Mirrored Room. The museum is free but reserved complimentary tickets are encouraged.
Considered to be the oldest contemporary gallery and largest commercial exhibition space in the Western United States, Ace gallery is known for producing museum-level exhibitions. Supporting up and coming as well as world-renowned artists, the gallery has also worked with cultural institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Cartier Foundation Paris. Highly regarded Gallery Director Douglas Chrismas has installed many ambitious exhibitions showing works from Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra to Tara Donovan.
MOCA is the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art. There are three MOCA museums to enjoy; MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and MOCA Pacific Design Center. All three locations focus on challenging works of art created since 1940. Free admission happens on the first Thursday of every month from 5:00pm – 8:00pm with the exception of MOCA Pacific Design Center which is always free.
Give the gift of art! A one-year MOCA membership is the best way to stay connected to contemporary art in Los Angeles. Enjoy unlimited free admission to our three sites that include a world-class permanent collection, thought-provoking exhibitions, and an engaging arts education program for visitors of any age. More info at moca.org/members. [Barbara Kruger, Untitled (It's a small world but not if you have to clean it), 1990. Photographic silkscreen on vinyl. 143 x 103 in.]
Norton Simon Museum
The museum is regarded as one of the most remarkable private collection spanning 2,000 years. Pieces from Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Diego Rivera are all on permanent view. In addition to the collections, The Sculpture Gardens are a delightful addition to the museum including a diverse collection of art dispersed throughout. The Norton Simon Museum is free after 5:00pm the first Friday of every month.
Founded in 2005, Thinkspace has been a catalyst for emerging and contemporary artist. Medium’s include pop art, graphic art, design and street art. The gallery represents artist that include Bumblebeelovesyou, Aaron Horkey and Low Bros.
Hammer Museum At UCLA
The Hammer is known for it’s dynamic exhibitions and stellar roster of lectures, readings, film screenings and musical performances. Artist like Kenny Scharf, Catherine Opie and Mark Bradford are examples of who exhibits. The museum and all public programs are, as they like to say free! “FOR GOOD”.
The Wende Museum
Focused on preserving and showcasing art from the cold war era, the museum holds a variety of media including design objects, works on paper, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, textiles, films and books. The galleries are open to the public without appointment every Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, guided tours are offered only by appointment. For more information on schedules and what is currently on view, check out their visit page here.
Created by Shepard Fairey aka OBEY Subliminal Projects promote a range of contemporary art, including street art. Originally created by Shepard Fairey and Blaize Blouin as an artist collective in 1995 the group played an integral part in breaking skateboarding culture and design into the art world, showcasing artists such as Phil Frost, Thomas Campbell, Mike Mills and Mark Gonzales. Today Shepard and Amanda Fairey continue to host and curate exhibitions that have featured artists such as Ryan McGinness, HunterGatherer,Space Invader, Jim Houser and Andrew Jeffery Wright. The gallery continues to be a innovative cultural hub by holding art exhibitions by established and emerging artists, as well as a lecture series, workshops and artist publications.
Blum & Poe
Blum & Poe is an internationally known art powerhouse with locations in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo. Some of the biggest names in the art world have shown here including Chuck Close, Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami. The gallery represents artists including Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami and Sam Durant.
Lab Art is known for being the largest street art collective in the United States spanning 6,500 square feet of space. Opened in 2011 Lab Art helped shape many careers in the graffiti and street art world and support artist such as Alec Monopoly, Rolland Berry, Max Neutra, Annie Preece and Domingo Zapata.
New Image Art Gallery
New Image Art is known for taking chances on artists before they rise in the art world. Established in 1994 by gallery director Marsea Goldberg the gallery attracts the interest of art collectors ready to invest in the future of emerging artists. Focused on innovative genres the gallery showcases art in the skate and street world. Over the years, the gallery has helped the careers of artist such as Shepard Fairey, Neck Face, Ed Templeton, Anthony Lister, Bäst, and Retna among others.
Giant Robot operates a shop and a Gallery (GR2) on Sawtelle Boulevard on the Westside of town. The Giant Robot shop is often called the birthplace for Asian Pop Culture products and GR2 Gallery features art exhibitions by notable artists like Katsuya Terada, Luke Chueh, David Choe, Mari Inukai, Deth P Sun, Rob Sato, Ako Castuera, Sean Chao, Yoskay Yamamoto, Uglydoll, and countless others. Their reception parties and art gallery are free to the public.