Located on Wilshire Blvd, if you live in Los Angeles you’ve probably driven past it at some point and not known the Marciano Art Foundation museum was housed in here because from the outside it looks like a masonic building. The museum officially has been in this space only since May 2017 and you can find more information about the building here. It was originally built as a Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in the 60s. Most of the art here is from the 1990s onward.
Need to know before you go
Entry is free but timed so you have to get a ticket online on their website and reserve a slot to enter. Entry is suggested for two hours but they will have you in there for a half hour before and after your slot. There is a lot of parking available onsite for free and there is some seating outdoors in the sculpture garden or at the café onsite if you need to wait for your time to enter.
The venue has a mezzanine, lobby level and then three floors. The day I visited, the mezzanine and second floor were closed for installations so I technically got to visit only two floors. At the lobby level, there is a bookshop to your right and a café to your left – both pretty cool. There are a handful of larger than life paintings on this level and some seating. The third floor had the most artworks. On one side was the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibit featuring Latin American artists. On the other side were artists like Takashi Murakami and Christoper Wool.
Don’t miss it!
1. On the same side as the Latin artists, there is a Millard Sheets mosaic piece original to the building – it is actually shielded behind a wall so you might miss it if you didn’t pay attention. Sheets also constructed the building and was sought out to design a number of bank buildings around the city though he wasn’t an architect by trade.
2. The third floor also has an outdoor area overlooking the parking lot but offering some nice views of the city and the mountains in the distance. This is a good spot to take a break from the crowds if you will, though the place is so big that a crowd might never be a problem in here.
3. The first floor had a wall mural all along the four sides and the best part here was the Relic Room which houses some of the original items from when the building was a masonic hall. Not entirely sure about the history and culture of masonic organizations and have to read up on that but I found all the highly theatrical outfits pretty amusing.
4. That done and with time to spare, I ended up back at the café and working for a few hours before leaving. The Twist Eatery operates this café and they have a somewhat limited set of offerings, mostly a handful of hot and cold beverages and some cold sandwiches, lunch options as well as pastries. There is a lot of seating at the café though if you’d like to spend time there after your visit.
1. I did like what I got to see overall but would have to come back to see the rest of the floors for a better perspective of the museum and the exhibits. Wait until all floors are ready by March 1st and then visit for the satisfaction that you saw everything you came to see. Better yet, call to ensure which exhibits are available on date of visit as the website doesn’t necessarily have the latest information.
2. There is art outside the building as well so ensure you do a walk around so you don’t miss anything or ask one of the staff members to point you in the right direction.