Destination: Los Angeles (Surface)
Destination: Los Angeles
Rising fashion and art scenes are casting a new light on California’s glamorous city.
I’ve spent most of my adult life living in New York City and San Francisco—two places where the locals seem particularly prone to rolling their eyes at Los Angeles. So I’ve gotten used to justifying my unabashed affection for the city to those around me.
As a regular visitor over the last decade or so—chronicling L.A.’s art world ascendance and, more recently, writing about the city’s booming market for glass-walled trophy mansions as a West Coast writer for The Wall Street Journal—I’ve found there’s a lot to love, such as the canals, the fresh produce, the stiltlike palm trees set against bright orange sunsets, and Japantown’s Tokyo-grade ramen.
L.A. seems to unveil itself to outsiders a little less obviously than do other cities; its biggest charms often feel a bit more hidden. It’s so sprawling and populous that it takes a while to untangle it. There are pop-up art galleries in strip malls, cool new restaurants buried behind giant parking lots or tucked behind office buildings, roof-deck film screenings, and East Side neighborhoods where up-and-coming designers work out of their garages.
Lately, though, I’m finding I no longer have to make the hard sell. It seems L.A. is winning over even the crankiest New Yorkers and smug San Franciscans, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Along with the real estate market, the city’s arts and cultural scenes have blossomed onto the world stage. One of many recent watershed moments was the opening of billionaire art collectors Eli and Edythe Broads’ $140 million Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed Broad Museum. The stunning space highlights their hit- filled contemporary collection of works by Koons, Basquiat, Murakami, and so many others. Just as exciting are the smaller galleries highlighting both lesser-known artists and bigger names, which seem to crop up or expand weekly.