Coronavirus: L.A.'s Top Museums Close, Private Galleries Shift to Appointment-Only

painted sidewalk by Venezuelan-born artist Carlos Cruz-Diez toward the Broad Museum - Getty - H 2020
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

A day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and local city leaders encouraged even tighter limitations on public gatherings and events spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic, top museums in the area have announced temporary closures beginning as early as Saturday.

Closures include the Broad, the Getty Center, the Hammer Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Natural History Museums of L.A. County, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the William S. Hart Museum. Also closed will be the popular Griffith Observatory.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter received a number of notifications from top galleries such as Regen Projects and Kayne Griffin Corcoran on Friday announcing a shift from business as usual viewings to appointment-only scheduling for collections or current exhibitions. Below is a roundup of the closures with additional information from the institutions.

• The Broad closed Friday and will remain so until "at least March 31," per the museum, in an effort "to support efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to ensure the health and safety of our community, visitors, and staff. The museum has already canceled all public group tours and school visits, and postponed events through mid-May, in addition to other precautionary measures." Additional updates will be provided on the museum's website

• Starting Saturday, J. Paul Getty Museum locations at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, as well as the gardens and grounds, and the Getty Research Institute galleries and Getty Library at the Getty Center will close until further notice. Per the institution's website, "regional and global work of the Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute, and Getty Foundation, which provide grants and training, and conduct research and conservation of cultural heritage, will continue." More than 1,200 employees are affected and some will be transitioning to new work arrangements. Per a statement, the Getty Trust will provide support to all of employees.

• LACMA, the Natural History Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and the William S. Hart Museum will close main campuses to the public starting Saturday and will remain closed "until further notice." The decision also affects the museum’s gallery at Charles White Elementary School in MacArthur Park and includes all public programming and events. As part of the announcement, it was reported that "the museum will support its employees during this time." Said LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan: “Though we had been hoping to keep our galleries open so that our visitors may look to art for inspiration and solace in these uncertain times, we believe that closure is the best way for us to support public health officials in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. ... As this is an evolving situation, we do not yet know when we will reopen; however, we will provide updates about our plans to reopen on our website and through social media. LACMA staff are currently exploring ways for digital visitors to enjoy our wonderful exhibitions and collections, and we will be sure to let you know about these initiatives."

• Hammer will close Saturday and remain closed through the end of April "as a cautionary measure in response to COVID-19. The move affects "all spaces within the museum ... including the galleries and the Billy Wilder Theater, and public programs." The restaurant on-site, Audrey at the Hammer, will continue to operate with reduced hours and options for delivery. Past programming and additional information is currently on view on the museum's website

• MOCA has closed "in the interest of protecting the health and well-being of our staff and visitors, as well as helping inhibit the spread of the COVID-19 virus." No reopening date has been announced, and the closures apply to both the MOCA Grand Avenue galleries and WAREHOUSE at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Updates will be given on the website and on social media platforms.

• Griffith Observatory announced a closure on Friday. "In the best interest of our visitors, to help limit the possible spread of the coronavirus, Griffith Observatory is closed until further notice," read a tweet on the institution's Twitter account. "We are very sorry for the inconvenience." No reopening date was given.

• Regen Projects will temporarily be open by appointment only starting Saturday. The current exhibitions — "Catherine Opie: Rhetorical Landscapes" and "Lawrence Weiner: ON VIEW" — will be extended through May 2, while the April show, "Kader Attia: The Valley of Dreams," is being postponed until the fall. More information can be found here. "We strongly hope and believe that taking these preventative measures now will help alleviate this health threat for our community," the gallery said in a statement. 

• Kayne Griffin Corcoran will be close Saturday and be available by appointment only "until further notice." Said the gallery in its statement: "In these difficult times we remain committed to sharing our passion for art through our online presence and digital engagement via our website, social media channels, and online viewing rooms."

• Very Small Fires, with locations in Los Angeles and Seoul, will remain open but on an appointment basis effective Tuesday. Said the gallery in a statement: "As VSF’s priority is to protect our visitors and staff, we are taking preemptive measures in both locations by sanitizing our spaces to ensure a safe environment for our community both in the United States and Asia. ... VSF is preparing an online exhibition platform for viewing the upcoming presentations by Jessie Homer French and Josh Kline." More information can be found here

• Baert Gallery closed to the public Friday and will be available by appointment only. More information can be found here

• L.A. Louver will close to the public Saturday and will be available by appointment only. Current shows Tom Wudl: The Flowerbank World and Don Suggs: Face-Off will be extended until May 30. Updates can be found here

• DENK Gallery will close Saturday and be available by appointment "subject to safety and travel restrictions." More information can be found here

Updates to come ...