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Monterey Museum of Art – La Mirada

My wife and I took a “sanity day” today and traveled to Monterey, which is only about 1 1/2 hours from our home. We enjoyed the cool fogginess, which burned off shortly after we arrived in Monterey, and the day became sunny and comfortable! Our first stop was the Lake El Estero Visitors Center. After a bit of watching the paddleboats on the lake, we entered the center and I began collecting the major booklets of FREE information.

One of the things that I collected was a small brochure from the Monterey Museum of Art (“One great museum – two fabulous locations”). In talking with one of the docents, she told us about a photography exhibit at the La Mirada (Spanish for “The View”)  location: “Edward Weston: American Photographer.” The docent also pointed out a coupon in the brochure for “2 admissions for the price of 1,” saving us $10. There are discounts for students and U.S. military.

I have said before that I strongly believed in serendipity. I still do! :-)

La Mirada is described as “the city’s crown jewel:”

Monterey Museum of Art, La Mirada
720 Via Mirada, Monterey, CA, 93940
(831) 372-3689 – Venue Website

MMA La Mirada is the city’s crown jewel with its magnificent gardens surrounded by picturesque stone walls. Located in one of Monterey’s oldest neighborhoods, La Mirada began as a modest stone adobe during the Mexican Period. It was later remodeled into an elegant home and estate where the great stars of the silent film era were entertained.

Today visitors will experience the same charming, exquisitely furnished home with its ambiance of early California. The Dart Wing, designed by renowned architect Charles Moore, features four breathtaking galleries with spectacular views of the gardens and Monterey Bay.

La Mirada is also a venue for weddings, meetings, and gatherings, and a link to a Virtual Tour, as well as other photos can be found on this page, along with rental information.

The exhibition of Edward Weston‘s photography (wonderful black-and-white prints) runs from June 18 to October 2, 2011 and is described by the museum in this way:

“Edward Weston was among the most significant American artists of the twentieth century.  The exhibition will span the most prolific decades of his career. Born in Highland Park, Illinois, Weston came to California in 1926, where he began the work for which he is justly famous: sharply-focused black and white photographs of seashells, vegetables, landscapes, portraits and nudes. In 1929, Weston moved to Carmel and created the first of many photographs of the dramatic rocks and trees at Point Lobos <1>. Soon thereafter, he became one of the founding members of Group f/64—a pioneering circle of photographers that included Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham. Widely renowned during his lifetime, Weston became the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for experimental work in 1936.”

Besides a video about Weston’s photography, additional background information includes a “Cell Phone Audio Tour” described in this way:

“Cell Phone Audio Tour
Access insights and stories about 10 items in this exhibition by calling 831.515.3347 and entering a number from 1 to 10 followed by the #. Press 0# to leave a comment. No cost, except your minutes.”

The photography was breathtaking, and La Mirada and its grounds were, too! I have only touched upon the history of La Mirada, but a brochure with a detailed history is available at the museum. I did a little photography, myself, on the museum grounds, before we left for lunch at Vivolo’s (not a recommendation, but I’d take it, if I were you! 😉 ) in Pacific Grove. Then we walked around Lovers’ Point and its beach and drove out around Pacific Grove and Asilomar, at one time watching three blacktail bucks grazing on someone’s lawn of succulents.

Then, we returned home, our sanity restored… at least for a little while.

Of course the mere mention of sanity brought back the exchange in the Contract Scene of “A Night at the Opera” between Groucho Marx (playing “Otis B. Driftwood”) and his brother Chico (playing “Fiorello”):

Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?
Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that’s the usual clause that’s in every contract. That just says, uh, it says, uh, if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.
Fiorello: Well, I don’t know…
Driftwood: It’s all right. That’s, that’s in every contract. That’s, that’s what they call a sanity clause.
Fiorello: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can’t fool me. There ain’t no Sanity Clause!

If you plan any visits to Monterey during the Weston exhibit, be sure to visit La Mirada!

-Bill at

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