For our final day of the year, LASA traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), one of the world’s great art museums. The artist Chris Burden, whose work so epitomizes both LA and LACMA, had only recently passed away, and the obituaries and testimonials about his life, work, and influence surrounded our day. We saw a vernacular shrine set up outside of his Urban Light sculpture – 202 restored street lamps – and many conversations at the museum were about Burden.
We discussed LACMA’s expansion plans, the role of a comprehensive art museum in the early 21st century, and the fundraising challenges wrapped around art collecting and museum expansion. Back at The Huntington, we had lunch and then reprised our first-day-of-LASA map exercise from August. Student knowledge of LA geography, institutions, and infrastructure had improved considerably over the year! We said goodbye with gifts of a book and a certificate signed by LA County Supervisor Hilda Soliz. We insisted that our LASA students keep in touch, and we all agreed that it had been a wonderful year.