The Getty Center

In one hour we will be in Sydney.  It has not been a bad flight although it was delayed by two hours and we walked from one end of LAX to the other when our departure lounge was altered.  We both bought soft neck pillow which made sleeping a lot more comfortable.  We also managed to score three seats between us which gave us more room to move.

Leanne and Gary picked us up at 10.00am and drove us to the Getty Center.  It is high on a hill and is surrounded by stunning gardens and views over Los Angeles.

We decided to do a guided tour of the highlights of the museum.  We were given headsets so we could hear the group leader easily.  By asking lots of questions she made us think about various aspects of the art work we were observing.The first painting we saw was Van Gogh’s Irises which is a permanent exhibit which never goes on tour.  Painted in the sanitarium in St Remy it brought back memories of our holiday last year.  It had belonged to Alan Bond but he lost it when he was made bankrupt.IMG_7570

Leanne and Gary were keen to see a photographic exhibition gifted to the Getty by Robert Mapplethorpe and Samuel Wagstaff.  Mapplethorpe was a visual artist who influenced his wealthy lover and art collector to develop an interest in photographs. His photographs of male and female nudes are impressive and confronting.

One picture in the Wagstaff collection depicting three cats flying, water thrown from a bucket, an easel, a footstool and Salvadore Dalí all seemingly suspended in mid-air had me wondering if any cats had come to harm in the making of the photograph.

Dali Atomicus (Phillipe Halsman) no copyright .  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington DC 20540 USA

The garden itself is a sculpture but because of the drought the fountains and water features are not operating.  The views over Los Angeles, expressways, a vineyard (only one in LA and belonging to Rupert Murdoch) on this very hot day were interesting.

Another exhibit we visited was the cave temples of Dunhuang from Western China on the Silk Road.  We were given 3-D glasses and took a virtual reality tour of an actual cave filled with life sized sculptures of Buddha and his entourage.IMG_7588

We all ate healthy salads for lunch before heading back for more viewing. In order to avoid the worst of the traffic we drove soon after to Leanne and Gary’s house in Manhattan Beach.  It is an interesting house on three levels with a deck on top.  It was a short walk to the beach so we took the dog and ourselves for some exercise.  The beach is wide with a bike path running along the edge and some fascinating houses overlooking the water including the house from Beverley Hills 90210 (if anyone can remember back that far).  There was also the house used in Tequila Sunrise with Mel Gibson. 

Finally we said farewell as we were dropped off at the airport. Five weeks in North America has come to an end.  To use a quote from Henry David Thoreau.

It’s not what you look at that matters.  It’s what you see.

We saw a lot, most definitely missed a lot, but had a great time exploring North America and relating to the people who live there.  Maybe in the next couple of years we will come back to see some more.

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