LACMA's New Normal

LACMA reopens Apr. 1. I visited this weekend for a member preview and found the COVID-safe changes fairly seamless and less intrusive than I'd imagined.

Early in the pandemic Michael Govan had spoken of eliminating wall texts, as they cause people to gather. But all the current exhibitions have the usual signage and labels. Crowding wasn't an issue with the 25 percent capacity limits. QR codes linking to guides are also available.

LACMA now requires timed reservations. On the day of the visit you'll receive an e-mail asking you to fill out an online health questionnaire. This seems a dubious gesture, given the current state of COVID awareness. When you arrive at the museum's entrance plaza, you need to show your reservation and your health questionnaire result on your cell phone. A talking robot checks visitors' temperatures (better than the gun to the forehead). 

Remember when supermarkets marked off their aisles as one way? That lasted a few weeks. LACMA now places similar restrictions on the order in which you view shows (but not, thankfully, on navigation within galleries). 

Those entering the museum are directed first to the BCAM escalator, which goes up to the top floor. It's closed for installation, so you have to take the stairs down to the Yoshitomo Nara show on the second floor. After that it's first floor for Cauleen Smith. (You can't see Smith before Nara: Signs prohibit traveling up the down staircases.) You may then enter the Resnick Pavilion, where you'll be directed first to "Not I: Throwing Voices (1500 BCE-2020 CE)." After that, you can view the remaining shows in any order you want (Vera Lutter, recent acquisitions, and Bill Viola's Slowly Turning Narrative; plus pre-lockdown holdovers "Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific" and a Do Ho Suh installation).
You don't have to be much of a germophobe to appreciate the new gismos for opening doors at a wave of a hand. This is one investment that might be worth keeping post-pandemic. 

I suggest you hydrate before your visit. The urinals are now socially distanced "for your safety."

Bottom line: The current set-up isn't ideal for someone who can't navigate stairs or doesn't have a cell phone. Otherwise, it works.


Anonymous said…
Mark Gold should take over the management of LACMA. He certainly couldn't be any worse than the current bunch running it into the ground.

By the way, to "D.E.I.A," I'd add the letter "B." For Bankruptcy. Maybe "C" too. For Con Job.
Anonymous said…
^^^Ugh, CultureGrrl. So much white privilege, so much ignorance...

The encyclopedic museum, racism, and deaccessioning, it's all implicated.