MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles – Grand and Geffen (Los Angeles Weekend Trip – part 2)

Los Angeles Weekend Trip – part 2

The original plan was to go the new museum in LA that everyone seems to be talking, facebooking, instagraming about; The Broad. I started planning a couple months ahead of time knowing that there will be a wait otherwise and apparently failed. I couldn’t get the tickets for the weekend we had planned for. More about The Broad in a later post (hint: we made it to The Broad the following week)

I was quite disappointed, and BH cheered me up by agreeing to go to MOCA – Museum of Contemperary Art Los Angeles; both the main one on Grand and the Geffen with me instead.

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We walked to MOCA Grand Avenue from after breakfast and arrived at about 10:30am. They open at 11am. MOCA Grand Avenue is located just across the street from The Broad and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, so we headed across the street and took pictures as tourists. The architecture of both buildings are quite unique and pretty!

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MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art; Grand Avenue

250 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The MOCA store opens a little earlier so we headed inside (it was started to sprinkle a little). There was art, books, fun kids art fun, and cards but I couldn’t find any postcards.

I personally really like collecting postcards, sending postcards, and of course receiving postcards. It’s nice to pick up the old pen and paper (post card) and send out some old fashioned mail.

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And then at 11am we got our tickets ($12 per person or $6 each if you are a student) and then entered the museum with everyone else that was waiting for them to open. Note that the tickets include entrance to all 3 MOCA locations in LA, though MOCA Pacific Design Center was closed that day because of Gay Pride.


I went to MOCA in 2009 and I’m finally back 2016. Thank you Facebook for the reminder. There were some exhibits that I remembered from my first visit but most are new (at least they are to me now 7 years later). That was me in 2009 at MOCA in the picture above.

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And before you even enter, you will be greeted by a big art installation of a lot of metal scrap.

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I’m not much of an artist, nor do I really understand art but I appreciate it and I like looking at it. I also really appreciate being able to read and have some understanding of the meaning behind much of the abstract art.

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Many of the pieces are different and may not be very interactive but we still have fun.  Here are a few of our favorites:

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The Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun was fun surprise for us. We walked into a dark room with comfy lawn chairs and a movie showing on a big screen. It gave us a good excuse to sit down, relax, and watch an interesting piece. But the fun part comes in the actual room we were located in.

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The black walls with blue lights in a grid on every wall, the floor, and ceiling made me feel as though I had walked into some sort of virtual world.

The museum loops back to the entrance, and if you want to make sure you follow the art chronologically start on the right. It was never boring and the art was mostly family friendly. Not all contemporary art is vulgar and still makes you think.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art

152 North Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is located in Little Tokyo right next to the National Japanese American Museum just down the street from our hotel. We walked 1-mile back to our hotel for a short break and then headed to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

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160611i Moca Geffen _30There is a slightly different vibe when you walk into the Geffen. The museum is a single big warehouse like building and anchored by a single piece hanging in the center with nothing around it; making the warehouse like building almost seem a little intimidating.

The “Suspended House” by Do-Ho Suh looks rather simple. Isn’t it just a whole bunch of fabric sewn together and hung up in the middle of a warehouse? But the question really is what is the artist provoking us to think of when we see it.

And with that, we can continue on with the museum and think.

The current exhibit at The Geffen Contemporary MOCA featured “Don’t Look Back: The 1990s at MOCA” and since I grew up in the 90’s there were quite a few things that brought back some childhood memories (and some that did not though).

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Of course the big fabric house hanging in the museum was the first thing you would see in the museum, but something that really caught my attention was this drawing of the a meteor. From far it may not look like much, but when you look closely it’s composed of small strokes each individually drawn to create the image. That’s a lot of time and work!

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BH isn’t a fan of museums sometimes because they’re always so strict with no touching and having to keep a distance to the art, so the sign saying “You are allowed 2 touch thins” got him kind of excited. Though your still can’t touch things here.

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Another one of my favorites at the museum was this. It’s a very detailed world map composed of marbles. I spent quite a bit of time looking at this.

Can you imagine how much time this took to put together? Each continent, country, and each island! I was so happy just looking at it, I forgot to even look at the information about the artist etc.

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And because I spent so much time looking at the marble world map, BH had to wait for me. I think he was trying to scare me.

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And then we walked into this Paul McCarthy “Tokyo Santa” exhibit. At first I was excited to see Christmas in June but at closer look, it’s not as sparkly and pretty.

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The upstairs loft gave us good views of the “Suspended House” and “Tokyo Santa”.

160611i Moca Geffen _31And then downstairs located below the loft are a few pieces that really bring me back to my childhood and as we continued on, we walked into a small room dimly lit.

“Many a Slip” by Sarah Sze

I was actually a bit apprehensive to walk in. This piece expands through several rooms. Starts in a bigger room with several things connected together through an extension cord hanging from the ceiling and then quietly connected to a smaller room.

That’s when it got really interesting with what you see in my picture on the right. It’s like a science project that didn’t quite know when to stop. Everything was put together with tape and and trinkets etc.

And it gets even more complicated as it continues onto a small third room that you can’t walk into.

There are all sorts of different pieces of art throughout MOCA, each though provoking in different ways. That’s why I find MOCA fun to explore.

Have you been to MOCA or any other Contemporary Art museums? What do you like or don’t like?


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