Would you drive across town to see one painting? I spend the day at The Huntington two weeks go, drawn to the Kehinde Wiley pictured here, and it was well worth the effort. In fact, I plan to head back again soon because walking around the glorious grounds provided a much-needed respite from holiday and omicron madness.
Do yourself a favor and spend some time at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens this winter (that’s the institution’s formal name)… it’s a Covid safe adventure, and the crisp winter air provides the perfect weather for exploring the peaceful, generous grounds (over 200 acres).
It’s easy to lose track of time exploring the many opportunities at The Huntington – I viewed paintings in the grand mansion and then walked to the vast, newly renovated Chinese Garden and circled back to explore American Decorate Arts in another building. Those are just a few of many choices you can make during your time on the San Marino property. You can stay outside for hours exploring the grounds, which house over a dozen “principal gardens” – desert, jungle, rose, a lovely indoor conservatory, a terrific Children’s Garden – and then choose to make targeted stops inside the Art Museum and several restaurants and shops.
Bonus: If you visit before January 3, 2022 you’ll have the good fortune of viewing Kehinde Wiley’s “A Portrait of a Young Gentleman” in situ, before the inaugural exhibit closes.
The Wiley portrait was commissioned by the museum on the 100th anniversary of the acquisition of Thomas Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy” and Wiley’s contemporary homage hangs “in state” across the grand gallery from the Thomas Gainsborough portrait of a young gentleman in a similar pose. Here’s our earlier story on the painting. The experience of seeing them stare each other down across the long formal gallery is actually thrilling. Visitors and guards were all masked, and the hall so large that your brief trip into the gallery will feel safe.
You can also visit the Orbit Pavilion (also closing December 31), a soundscape that listens to satellites in orbit.
And here is a view from the lovely new Chinese garden.