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Norton Simon Museum


Norton Simon Museum
The Norton Simon Museum has been at the epicenter of Pasadena's art scene since the 1920s. Their collection ranges from ancient Asia, European art from 14th-19th centuries, modern and contemporary, prints and photographs, and an ever-rotating series of exhibitions making Norton Simon a must-see for a strong dose of culture.  The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a thirty-year period 20th-century industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years.

Know Before You Go:
$10 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for kids under 18, active military with I.D., and students with I.D. First Friday of the month is free from 6pm-9pm and ample, on-site free parking is available.  Hours: Monday, Wed-Thurs, Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm | Friday: 10am-9pm (Closed Tuesdays).  It is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105 (626) 449-6840.


While designing what is now the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena in the late 1960s, architects John Kelsey and Thornton Ladd expressed a belief: Space that houses art "can be part of the event and experience."
When it opened in 1969 as the Pasadena Art Museum, observers saw art in the striking curvilinear exterior, which was clad in mottled tiles that appeared to change color with the sun, and in the curved interior walls conceived to showcase modern art. 
An early review by The Times pronounced the structure "eye-catching" and "undoubtedly superior to its only local competition, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art."
After forming the firm Ladd & Kelsey in 1958, the two USC graduates built a number of major projects over the next quarter-century, including main buildings at CalArts in Valencia and Busch Gardens, a theme park in Van Nuys.
Kelsey, 86, died Aug. 4 of complications related to old age at his Santa Barbara home, his family said.
In "An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles" (2003), architectural historian Robert Winter wrote that the museum drew upon the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s while reflecting "a formal classic quality."
After the museum opened to great fanfare, it quickly sank into debt and was taken over by industrialist Norton Simon in 1974. Architect Frank Gehry led a major reconfiguration of the gallery space in the late 1990s to better display Simon's vast collection of masterpieces, according to the museum.
For CalArts, Ladd & Kelsey designed what the partners called a "mega-building," a unified complex with 150 spaces that encompassed eight theaters, galleries and other technical facilities. The Times called the plans for the behemoth "virtually unprecedented," and Kelsey touted the flexibility of the design.
"There isn't a traditional classroom in the building," Kelsey had said of the planned classrooms, which could easily be reconfigured "to fit the needs of the instructor.".

See also:
Mission/Rancho Erra - 1700s
Pioneer Era - 1800s
Railroad History
Transportation History