We had another slow morning. I was feeling all the walking in my stiff muscles and sore feet while Scott wanted more sleep.

We caught a taxi to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and walked along Wilshire Boulevard looking for somewhere for a meal. We were having a glass of wine before noon for the third day in a row. Hooray for holidays!

After lunch, we went to the Page Museum for the Le Brea tar pits which shows the history of the discovery of the fossils in the tar pits and displays the wooly mammoth, sabretooth tigers and other creatures whose many bones have been excavated. On the grounds, you can also see the pits where there is still excavation of the fossils. The pits and tar lake smell strongly of tar.

The lands where the tar pits are located were donated to Los Angeles County in the 1920s and eventually, a Los Angeles County Museum of Science, History and Art was built on the site. The various science, history and art parts have split up which may explain why the site now has 7 buildings devoted to different art, culture, history and the tar pits. After the tar pits, we went to LACMA the art complex.

The art portion is undergoing a massive expansion and renovation which involved the building of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum where a Renoir exhibit is featured along with some some of the contemporary art collection. The exhibit was about Renoir in the 20th century so featured his portraits and nudes of his late years.

The building was designed by Renzo Piano, the architect who also designed the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. Like the Paris museum, this features an escalator located on the outside of the building. Even worse than the Pompidou, the escalator is open with only a roof. As there were very strong gusts of wind happening, it made me feel very exposed as we rode up from ground to the third floor. Apparently, at the top of the escalator, you can get a good view of the Hollywood sign. Scott, I think, took a photo but I was just intent on getting inside so never looked around on the bridge which went from the escalators to the building.

A view of the Broad museum and the new not yet opened exhibition space from the back side of the grounds.
We then went to the Ahmanson Building and learned the European painting display was closed. The museum staff didn’t know why. We were able to look at the modern art works. Allie will be disappointed that she missed seeing another untitled Rothko. The collection is pretty good on modern American art, although often are showing only one (but representative) work of artists like Rothko, Clifford Styll, Frank Stella, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, but it has a lot of Picasso and Warhol paintings in both buildings. The display of the collections seems a bit disorganized.
We skipped the Asian, Islamic, American, and antiquities displays in the other buildings. We looked in the bookstore, but no jewellery, no fridge magnets and no t-shirts. Sorry, Sid, no art museum shirt for you this trip.
We walked to the Farmers Market, a permanent set up of food, produce, jewellery, souvenirs and other shops. We found nothing we wanted to buy so headed back to Santa Monica.
I’ve noticed in the taxi rides going onto freeways that there are an amazing number of very elaborate grafitti works on the freeway ramps and bridges in locations that look improbable, if not impossible to get to in order to paint. Some have been in places which must require hanging suspended from the overpass. I haven’t been able to photograph them except for one as we slowed because of traffic — of course, a car drove in front.

We got dropped off on the Third Street Promenade, but it’s mostly chain stores, restaurants and movie theatres, so we didn’t find any good souvenirs to buy. It was a mostly disappointing shopping day.

We skyped Allie and Sidney to learn we’ve missed the snow and cold weather this past week. Makes the mid 60s temperatures here feel pretty good despite the complaints by the locals that this is unusually cool for Santa Monica.

For dinner, we went to Melisse, a French restaurant, where we had the 4 course tasting menu with wine pairings.

Table decoration — Scott didn’t know how this was done
lobster boglonese
beets and avocado mousse
fish — can’t remember the name

Above lamb and veal
Below lemon cherry millefeuille and sticky toffee pudding

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