Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Huntington Library?

If you are visiting Los Angeles I highly recommend spending a day at the Huntington Library, especially if you're the type of person that doesn't really like Los Angeles. The Huntington Library has an eclectic collection of artwork, historical pieces and botanical gardens all nestled back in a quiet neighborhood just past Pasadena.

One of the current exhibits is "Pressed in Time: American Prints 1905–1950," sponsored by one of my favorite actors, Steve Martin. The exhibit had a few different focuses, including World War II, places of worship, the rapid growth of cities and the California coast. Despite this great variety, they were all tied together with an incredible sense of insight into the lives of people during the first half of the 20th century. The California coast pictures were timeless, showing the natural reoccurrence of wild fires and the beauty of the coast. Also timeless were the prints depicting the contrast between the love of big cities, industrial growth and wealth versus the hatred of overdevelopment, the negative social impacts of the inner city and the impending doom the artists forecasted. Nostradamus?

My favorite part of the Huntington Library is the botanical gardens. I've visited Huntington 4-5 times before but they never fail to amaze me. The Japanese gardens (currently in renovation) and the Desert Gardens are my favorite and a must see. You've likely seen the Japanese Gardens before in the popular TV show Heroes, and the sculpture garden in a few movies, such as the Wedding Planner (horrible movie, great scenery).

If you plan in advance you can have a champagne brunch at the Tea Room. The array of cheeses, pastries, teas and other foods is impressive.

Photography by me.