mrissa and I went to the Getty today. We had fun, and saw lots of Dutch paintings and illuminated books. (Random question that arose: Why would a German cardinal's prayer book be in German rather than Dutch, in the 15th or 16th century?) However, we found their more modern collection a little disappointing; too many pre-Impressionists and not enough Impressionists.
The Getty does not seem very well laid out, either. Having separate buildings is very Californian, but it severely limits serendipity. At MIA, for example, you can happily blunder from the Greek vases into the Asian art section. At the Getty, though, it feels like you have to plan out where you're going next. Having sculpture and decorative arts parallel the paintings (on separate floors) is an interesting idea, and the Getty seems stronger on the sculpture than many art museums. But there is so much space that is just empty--- there are no exhibits in hallways or other connecting spaces. (And the stairways seem to take up a huge amount of space!) The layout problems were particularly bad in the documentary photography exhibit, "Engaged Observers", which was otherwise an interesting (and occasionally moving) presentation.
The garden and fountains are lovely, although the Walker's sculpture garden is much better. While resting in the garden for a while, though, I felt a growing sense of wrongness about the Getty's rough-cut stone exterior. It didn't seem very Californian (and Marissa pointed out that it clashes with the stone chosen for the central garden.) We checked a book in the gift store and discovered it was Italian travertine, the same used in the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. I can understand the choice... but I probably would have preferred to use a native stone, had it been my project.
Yesterday we stayed in Capistrano Beach; we had a lovely lunch at a local Mexican institution (Olamendi's) and good tea at the Lavender Lounge Tea Company. Our hotel overlooked not just the beach but also the train tracks running along it; I enjoyed having the trains go by. Today we ate dinner at Tender Greens in West Hollywood, which was also very good.
But, oh, so much driving. Is it normal to encounter two three-car accidents when traversing I-405 for an hour during the early evening?