Getty Villa | Malibu
An unexpected surprise at the Getty Villa | Visit the Getty
What happen if you marry an American shopping plaza with an ancient Roman domus ? The answer is simpler than you could’ve imagined = Getty Villa in Malibu, California.
Yet another tasteless creation of California, it can rival Hurst castle in its banal imbalance of classical tradition and cheap modern solutions to achieve a faux design that would only look good on camera.
In real life the Villa is just as enjoyable as a warm can of flat American Coca Cola on hot summer day. It does however perfectly reflect LA’s superficial culture and goes as deep as the painted architectural elements on the walls (not even frescoes).
Photogenic opportunities at the villa on the shores of Malibu
Its a pleasant place for a stroll through if you are lucky enough to reserve your parking ticket in advance. Daily number of visitors is limited and you have to plan your visit well in advance. Previously it took us two attempts to book a visit, so do plan it in advance.
There are several spectacular individual exhibit pieces from ancient Etruscan, Roman and Greek cultures however they are far from being harmonious in the overall scheme of composition. Instead I would highly recommend visiting Getty Center off of 405. Executed in a modern style Getty Center perfectly blends in with the mismatched architectural styles of Los Angeles rather than Getty Villa.
In the image of Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum
A well intended classical Roman villa in the image of Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum turned into a strange modern day museum / house is an odd composition at best. Many people come here for selfies and simply to see something different in Malibu, which you will definitely witness.
Architect’s Robert E. Langdon’s other works are far simpler in their complexity and geometry which were clearly reflected in the over-plainness of the villa. Second architect – Ernest C. Wilson Jr was also well known for simple horizontal and perpendicular line sketches, perfectly reflected in Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum (in Yorba Linda). It is a miracle that the Getty Villa is somewhat reminiscent of classical Roman architecture, after these two did a number on the design.
The two from above should’ve stuck to designing commercial plazas like the Irvine Spectrum Center and such. It’s one of those sights, like the LACMA lights or the Hollywood Sign that you just have to visit to realize that there was very little to the site than what you would’ve expected.
Getty Villa with kids
We visited the museum when we still didn’t have a little one, however we would recommend bringing infants that you can place in a carrier; or bring a stroller along with you (so they can take a mid-day nap. Furthermore, elder kids can easily knock down some of the ancient pieces and you’d have to exercise your judgment before deciding to bring your kids to this particular museum.
There’s actually a little play area specifically designed for kids, so that they can play-pretend being archeologists.
What else is there to do in Malibu ?
Perhaps our experience was slightly tainted by the missing water in the pools and fountains; however it seems absolutely odd, how can a world renowned museum in one of the Biggest Cities in USA have water shortage, especially during the one of the busiest tourists month…
Never the less, we wouldn’t want to discourage you exploring the museum and shooting during the golden hour.
In either case, the trip to the villa can be and should be easily combined with other sites seeing in Malibu, such as Pepperdine University Alumni Park or your private Billion Dollar beach at Pirate Cove.