I think the best part of a train ride is the fact that you can just sink into your seat, look through your window, and let the fast moving scenery pass in-front of your eyes like a fast forwarded footage of a pleasant movie. The other really awesome part of a train ride is getting off the train in the very crowded, edgy, chaotic train station, where all sorts of colorful people mingle into each other, creating an intense sense of danger and excitement, particular of the big cites.
On a beautiful Sunday, I am up early, taking the train all the way to Union Station in Los Angeles. This one hour train ride makes me kind of feel nostalgic, looking back at all my memories of living in Europe and traveling by train from one city to another. In a moment, I find myself already in LA, and I am standing right in front of these two beauties: MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and The Broad museum. They are positioned just opposite each other on Grand Avenue, and it gives me the feeling of being confronted by making a choice between two completely different selections of absolutely great art.
Looking around, it also occurs to me that every time I come to downtown LA, I am always amazed by the way the face of the city is changing so rapidly. We Californians used to always be kind of apologetic for living in LA and for the fact that we have preferred the heavenly weather to the high culture of a city like New York. But it’s all changing now, such as The Broad opening its doors and all the other new cultural possibilities, which are accessible in downtown LA. The public can now be adequately exposed to grand arts all the way, New York style — proof that recently downtown LA has been attracting more of the top artists and art lovers to its great, newly-advanced cultural life.
I think, nowadays, people are much more comfortable to visit a museum. Even the guards you see standing around seem to be more relaxed, less bored, and are more friendly. Another good thing — you don’t even have to whisper while visiting a museum.
As I am walking around the magnificent space of MOCA, I realize that there is no particular solo exhibition going on at this time. Thus, I am now completely focused to enjoy the museum’s permanent collection — all the great works of Barbara Kasten, Andy Warhol, Glenn Ligon, Robert Cover, Franz Kline, James Rosenquist, and my very favorite of them all, Hito Steyerl. “Factory of the Sun” is just mind blowing and fantastic.
It is already later in the afternoon. We eat at the Lemonade cafe outside, in the open courtyard of the museum. I can easily see that on the other side of the street, in front of The Broad, all the food carts are parked in a row. It’s where you can get fast food and beverages. The sun is continuously and passionately shining and loving us all equally from up there, far away, amongst the clouds of the blue sky. It is a very warm California summer day.
I find myself on my way to take the train back home. l know I would certainly feel all dreamy and completely preoccupied. After all, I have so much beautiful art on my mind.
Architect Arata Isozaki designed MOCA Grand Avenue in 1986 with classical architecture and Los Angeles popular culture in mind. Today this location hosts the museum’s main galleries, Lemonade café, the flagship location of the MOCA Store, and staff offices.