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Where to take children when visiting Los Angeles, including the child in you

This is the installation that Chris Burden created for the new LACMA

Striking installation of old-fashioned light posts in front of LACMA created by Chris Burden

Our grandson was coming to visit. First time by himself, seven days, what to do?  Yes, miniature golf, yes the Santa Monica Pier, yes swimming  morning, noon and night,  yes making chocolate chip cookies, yes, yes, and yes. But more…aha! I’d been wanting to visit the Metropolis II exhibit at LACMA since it was installed. Never took the time for just myself,  but when you have a grandson, that’s different. Metropolis, ten years in the making, is a Chris Burden installation that is part Lego Land and part the movie Cars. A visual treat for the child in all of us.

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

So off we went to LACMA, the installation is only active on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. So be forewarned.

Now the fascinating statistics. This kinetic sculpture was ten years in the making. The cars are handmade and magnetized so that they stay on the  magnetic HO scale train track. There are 18 roadways, a 6 lane freeway and the cars speed around  “the city at 240 scale miles an hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars.” How about that?

I could stare in wonder for hours. We did. Well, actually I did. All of the incredible details that went into making this piece just mesmerized me. Details? I’ll show you details. Have you seen my artwork? Here’s a small one from one of my early paintings, “Alor Star.”

Detail of Alor StarNow look at the details in Metropolis II. You see why I would love the intricacy of this piece of art.

This installation by Chris Burden was 10 years in the making

Metropolis II, detail, LACMA   Metropolis II, detail, LACMA

That’s alot of details.

Didn’t want to miss anything, so upstairs we went  to the Robert Therrien “Plates” exhibit. Not realizing what fun was to be had. One of the guards showed us how we could take some fun photos with grandson as the model. You stand at a certain spot, aim the camera, take a look, you’re holding a huge ton of plates in your hands, move to another sculpture, aim the camera, and your holding up a twisting bed.

Grandson holding up plates at Thierman Exhibit, LACMA

We also played hide and seek in the Richard Serra sculpture. He creates these HUGE ,  wave like pieces of  steel that are shaped, molded, and undulating so you can hide in the folds.  To be honest I think that’s the best part of the piece.  Lots of places to run, hide and seek. The kids were disappointed that there was no echo. We tried to send a message to each other from one end of the sculpture to the other. Didn’t work. Would have been so much better if we could send a message. Darn.

Oh my, a spider in the house!

We walked up those steps to the courtyard and were  immediately confronted by this sculpture installation. I call it “Yellow Spaghetti”, our grandson calls it “cool.” He jumped right in with all of the other kids, grabbing long strands, twirlling, pulling, running back and forth. Wrapping himself in the thick strands. Just as if he were eating and slurping spaghetti.

Best use for yellow spaghetti!

Yellow Spagetti, LACMA


Yellow Spagetti, LACMA

All images appearing on Where to take children when visiting Los Angeles, including the child in you are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Carla Fischer - I can’t wait to go back and run through the spaghetti…and see ‘Metropolis II. I loved your funloving photos. Looks like you had a fabulous time with your grandson. Going to the museum with you is a ‘trip’! Thanks!!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I think one of the answers to going to museums with kids is to Keep it Simple, and not try to see everything. Tailor the trip to the child and have pizza and ice cream in the middle of the tour.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Ateca - Great photos Sandy! The one of your grandson holding the plates with his finger is especially fun. And yes, Metropolis II is quite impressive from what I see in your photos. Looks like you had a fun day!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks I think those photos are cute also. It was the guard who pointed us in the right direction for photos. Nice lady. I think LACMA has become much more of a friendly destination. Nice to sit in the outdoor cafe and sip some…ReplyCancel

  • picturetalk321 - I love this post and all the fabulous pictures. You’re totally lucky to be living in LA which has fantastic art resources. Children LOVE modern art and big interactive sculptures like this. And I absolutely second your thought about sitting in the outdoor cafe. I can’t go for longer than 1/2 an hour with art before I need to recharge with a coffee. To me the two go together: art + coffee = bliss.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Nina. Of course you are in England with museums that make me swoon. I love eating in museums. You get more o the “flavor” of the place. Of course with kids it’s a happy diversion and fuel o keep them going.ReplyCancel

  • Jean - We were in LA last month and LACMA was the one part of our vacation that was for me(well, and the Eames Home). I was surprised to find that my children were totally entertained by the museum too. All the installations you mentioned were their favorites. I just loved that Serra. The yellow photo I’m using on my site now are the “yellow spaghetti!” How funny.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - So glad you enjoyed the post and the Museum. Oh, I just love the installations. The grandkids really have a fun time there. Of course, so do I.ReplyCancel

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