Recently, I discovered a hidden gem only a few minutes away from home. I drive through Century City on a regular basis, but I had no idea what was among the tall buildings along the streets. I had never given it much thought. What I discovered was not only a surprisingly peaceful four-acre open space but also a fun cultural destination. I think it’s going to become a new favorite open space to escape to and a featured attraction to bring out-of-town guests to.
I had joined a friend to visit the Annenberg Space for Photography to see the National Geographic exhibit before it ended. I knew the Space was close to home and I had seen glimpses of it driving through Century City, but I didn’t really know much about it. I had to research exactly how to get to it and where to park. It turned out to be an easy visit and one I highly recommend. Not only did I see a fabulous photography exhibit, but I also gained a much greater appreciation for an area in my own backyard that had been totally unknown to me.
We decided to eat lunch first since it was just before all the office workers would decend upon the eateries. We dined at one of the many restaurants along the Promenade of Cafés, but bringing a picnic and eating on the lawn would have been lovely, too. There were even Bocce balls laying around on the grass and bean bag games for those who so desired.
The National Geographic exhibit, The Power of Photography, at the Space was fascinating. It celebrates the 125th anniversary of the magazine and features pictures and photographers from a wide range of genres and topics from 1888 to the present. I saw many photos I recognized but discovered many, many more that I had never seen before and that were quite striking and powerful.
My idea of a photography exhibit was large prints hanging on walls. This exhibit, however, was nothing like I imagined. It’s worth a visit to the Space just to see the installation of the exhibit! It certainly includes prints but in a totally different way.
The print displays are mosaics of more than 400 images that cover the walls like wallpaper. Then interpersed along the way are large LED monitors arranged to create video walls. These video walls present both individual images and photographic essays. More than 500 images are displayed on the video walls. Finally, the exhibit also includes several documentaries, one of which is about the installation of the exhibit. The exhibit closes April 27 so go see it if you haven’t already!
After the visit to the Space, I roamed the park grounds a bit. The grounds are surrounded by tall buildings, the two Century Plaza Towers on one side and 2000 Avenue of the Stars on the other. Even the buildings themselves add to the interest of the space, the triangular shapes of Century Plaza Towers and the large opening in 2000 Avenue of the Stars. I felt like I was in a bubble, totally removed from the busy world around me. Between and through the buildings I saw the sky and glimpsed the hills in the distance. Too bad I didn’t have a book with me because it would have been wonderful to stay and take advantage of the serenity.