Los Angeles to Moapa Valley: An Art Packed Road Trip

I’m excited to announce a contribution from freelance writer and mother of two, Jenny Holt. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind. She has written a post for us today about a great California-Nevada road trip that’s perfect for art lovers. I hope you enjoy her article!


Road trips are increasing in popularity, as they are a fun and easy way to take a vacation with your family or friends; as well-known children’s author Tom Lichtenheld elegantly put it, “A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.”

Jokes aside, road trips create incredible bonds between the people travelling together and wonderful shared memories. However, a road trip doesn’t have to be stressfully stretched over days or weeks; it can be short and focused on art if you know what you’re looking for. This approximately 8-hour road trip from Los Angeles to Moapa Valley is sure to be a wonderful artistic trip and a great memory for years to come.

Start at Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is well known for its progressive exhibitions and public programs. Affiliated to UCLA and founded in 1990, this museum is one of the most culturally relevant institutions in Los Angeles, a must-visit for every art aficionado. The Hammer Museum is home to over 300 programs throughout the whole year, from lectures to concerts to film screenings; it also hosts many exhibitions featuring both historically overlooked artists as well as contemporary young emerging artists. As of February 2014, all the collections, exhibitions and programs are completely free for visitors.

Pasadena Huntington Library and Botanical Garden

After Hammer Museum, it’s time to visit Pasadena’s Huntington Library. Though this road trip isn’t long, it is still an 8 hour drive, and any road trip needs a great car to get around in! If you don’t have one, remember to budget for car rental. The Library’s Main Exhibition Hall hosts rare manuscripts and books, whereas the West Hall of the Library features temporary exhibitions. There is also a permanent exhibition on the history of science (with a focus on astronomy and natural history) and an outstanding collection of 18th and 19th century British and American art. If you have some spare time, the beautiful botanical gardens also deserve an extended visit.

Moapa Valley

On the way to Moapa Valley you can stop at the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, where you can admire a breathtaking collection of Purifoy’s large-scale sculptures, assembled in the Mojave Desert between 1989 and 2004. Another possible stop is Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains, a public art installation which features seven towers of colorful, stunning stacked boulders standing over 30 feet high.

Finally, once you reach Moapa Valley you can admire Double Negative by Michael Heizer, a contemporary artist specialising in large-scale earthwork. Double Negative is Heizer’s first important earthwork, consisting in two trenches cut into the earth itself. The trenches are cut into the eastern edge of the Mormon Mesa and line up, measuring 1,500 feet in length together (including the open area across the gap). Double Negative represents art as subtraction rather than as creation, using the earth itself as a canvas and the natural surroundings as an inspiring part of the earthwork.


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