Is It Any Good?

Latin American Art from the modern to the…well…mostly modern, in Long Beach.

I’m not sure what happened, or if it happened…but sometime in the 80s or 90s, someone thought it was a nifty idea to combine Museum Spaces with Community Spaces. The Hammer Museum’s done this. The California African American Museum in Exhibition Park has done this.

In a way, it’s not a totally radical notion or anything. After all, Museums are doing things like Cooking Classes and Concerts and Parties to drive attendance. LACMA does it too.

I’m not sure I’m wild about the idea. I’ve given the Hammer and the California African American Museum slightly lower marks because well…in the drive to create a great community space, someone forgot to create a great Museum.

The Museum of Latin American Art is teetering on the razors edge in my mind. It’s a better museum than those other two.  My first visit was to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit, and…well, it did not disappoint, as least in terms of content. There was plenty to see and read…though you had to do a lot of it up close and personal.

But as for the rest of the Museum…??

Don’t get me wrong, there was an interesting collection of Black and White Photographs, problem was…well…that’s about it.

I asked if there was anything else, and the Guards said nope. That’s it.

Now, I’m going to allow for the fact that the night before they had a big Gala at the Museum, some of the Museum was still walled off.

But there is more than two exhibits at a time, right guys?

Despite that, despite my irritation at his being more Community Space than Museum Space, I still joined up for Membership. Because the missions too damn important…

But, Malcolm…didn’t you also join up because Museum Members got to bypass the line and go right into Frida Kahlo??

Shaddup, voice in my head!!

Long Beach is a long way away for me. I’m not making trips on a regular basis to the Museum of Latin American Art for weekend giggles. Still, it’s true…the mission of the Museum is too important in a way not to join.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Bear in mind, Sunday’s here at the Museum are free, and therefore…get real popular, real fast. Members can bypass the line to get in (if there is one).

This was the line to get in to see Frida Kahlo.  Just sayin'.

This was the line to get in to see Frida Kahlo. Just sayin’.

That being said, there will probably be a mess of people at the Museum on those free Sundays, particularly on days with a high profile exhibit like Frida Kahlo. Don’t panic. You’ll get in. The main thing you gotta worry about is the line snaking through the parking lot. I swear to God, the patrons blocked off half the parking spaces in the lot because no one from the Museum told them to…well…not stand where they were standing. It was a bit of a mess.

The Museum also does a Yearly Gala, which entails shutting down the Museum for the day, so check the Website in advance of your visit.


PARKING: Depends. The Museum of Latin American Art has it’s own, walled-in Parking Lot. It’s free and there are a lot of spaces…except when there’s a special event.

Yeah, when interest in whatever’s going on at the Museum is high then watch out. That Lot will be jammed.

Worse, if you want to find alternative parking…well…I’m not sure there is any. The Museum ofLatin American Art sits in the middle of a residential part of town. It surrounded by Houses, and the residents will have looong parked their cars there by the time you roll in for Museum time.

In other words, if the lot’s full…I’m not sure what you can do for a parking alternative.

There is a High School a couple of blocks down, and they did have some spaces, but I couldn’t get a clear vibe as to what the rules where for Sunday, so I didn’t try. If you’re willing to risk a parking ticket,and take the block and a half walk to the Museum, it could be a good option…or it might not.


The Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802

Tel: (562) 437-1689

Monday-Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Thursday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm