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Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise, a man who had his finger on the pulse
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden

Garden is in the northeast corner of the UCLA campus near Sunset Blvd.
No specific hours but daytime is best
310-825-4321 1 Hour
January 2014 All year
$0-9 Los Angeles California
Website Educational Sculpture Gardens
First review
The Murphy Sculpture Garden is a quiet and shady 5 acre park area located on the northeast part of the UCLA campus. It was established in 1967 and includes approximately 70 sculptures which range from figural to abstract and are mainly from the early 20th century. The garden is free, but there is a fee to park on campus.

The garden was conceived by and named for the third Chancellor of UCLA - Franklin Murphy. It was inspired by gardens Murphy had seen in Europe and was designed to make the art accessible to students. Interestingly, the garden was developed without knowing what art would be placed here. While the style reflects typical 1960s construction when concrete and conformity reigned supreme, the garden also features well manicured lawns and large shady trees. The art is displayed thoughtfully so it does not feel out of place in a campus setting or otherwise crowded. While many of the sculptures are figural in nature, there are also a number of more complex abstract pieces. Information signage was limited to identification plaques only.

It's a bit presumptuous to write about a sculpture garden when one is grossly ignorant of sculpture art, but in any event this review is more for the common man than the art connoisseur. The garden is small, and it’s easy to see everything in an hour. If you like to linger, admire art from different angles, or just chill out, you might want to stay longer. There are sculptures from better known artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Richard Serra, as well as a frieze by Henri Matisse. A memorable and bold statue called Standing Woman by Gaston Lachaise was impressive as was an unusual horse sculpture called Pensive by Deborah Butterfield. If you want to better understand the works, one option is to purchase a book on the garden in advance of a visit. Alternatively, student led tours are offered for a fee for larger groups. You can get more information at the following link: Free tours may be offered at 6:15pm on Thursday evenings, but it’s best to check first with the Hammer Museum at (310) 443-7000 to make sure. While the garden was an enjoyable place for a stroll on a winter evening, a visit will work best for those who are already knowledgeable about the art on display or to go on a group tour in order to better appreciate the sculptures.
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