Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla

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700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
|
Open:
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Thursday - Sunday)
Closed Monday - Wednesday
At the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, you can see hundreds of modern art pieces and learn about their extensive cultural and societal impact.
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Witness Art’s Influence Firsthand at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla

Wild Flowers and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La JollaIconic Art Outside the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla

Discover works of art that will entice and move you at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla!

This museum features a wide range of works from artists across the globe, providing a space for art enthusiasts to discover new favorites and reflect on the important role art plays in both depicting and shaping the world around us.

At this La Jolla museum, you’ll find a large collection of unique pieces of art from all mediums, including paintings, photos, videos, sculptures, and more. Works from major contemporary art figures stand alongside those from under-recognized artists, providing a platform to all key voices making art in the modern day.

Once the home of Ellen Browning Scripps designed by renowned architect Irving Gill in the early 1900s, The Museum of Contemporary Art has undergone many renovations throughout the years. It first opened its doors as a museum in 1941, and underwent a major restoration project in 1996. In April of 2022, the Museum of Contemporary Art reopened after a four-year-long closure for renovations and repairs.

The new campus is designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf and features the repurposing of the old Sherwood Auditorium into a special exhibition space, as well as a reordering of existing exhibits to form a more cohesive experience.

Additionally, during the recent renovation the museum quadrupled in size, from 10,000 square feet to an impressive 40,000 square feet! The larger venue means many new exhibits have been added, and many older exhibits that were previously retired due to lack of space have been returned to their rightful places on display.

Whether you’re looking forward to seeing old favorites, hoping something new catches your eye, or visiting for the first time, the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla is sure to entertain and delight art fans of all ages.

Discounted Admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art is not the only one of its kind. In fact, it has a sister museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown. If you’re an art buff who is planning to visit both versions of the museum in La Jolla and Downtown, you can save on admission costs with a Go City San Diego pass.

Not only does the Go City San Diego pass offer reduced admission costs to contemporary art museums, it also lets you save when visiting dozens of different attractions all across San Diego, including the San Diego Museum of Us, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego Art Institute plus many more museums in Balboa Park and throughout the greater San Diego area.

For additional savings, use our discount code (GVSD5OFF), and grab the All-inclusive pass for days of fun that won’t hurt your wallet.

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Explore the Art Gallery and Learn Something New

As you walk through the dozens of different rooms in the museum, you’ll traverse hallways lined with paintings, but that’s far from the only type of art on display. Other mediums like sculptures and larger installations are just as common, with many exhibits incorporating photo and video elements as well. No matter your personal preferences and tastes when it comes to art, all visitors are sure to find pieces that speak to them.

Many of the works of art in the museum are designed to evoke strong emotions, while others seek simply to capture the time in which they were created. Be transported back to the 50s and 60s, when Pop Art dominated American canvasses, or discover art from the past few years that speaks to the social issues of our time.

Contemporary art museums are uniquely able to help visitors discover unsung talents in the art world, many of which are still creating works today. Discover your new favorite artist, or use the opportunity to take in a wider range of styles and diverse perspectives that may not be on display at classic art museums.

At the Museum of Contemporary Art, there’s always a new piece of breathtaking art to see, and something new to learn from it.

Enjoy Arts with Go Pass!
Museum of Photographic Arts
Museum of Photographic Arts
When visiting the the world famous Balboa Park, head to the Museum of Photographic Arts. The museum offers you the best in photography, film & video. Use your Go Pass and enjoy film screenings as well as exhibitions from all around the world.
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Who can use a Go City San Diego pass?

Adults and children (ages 3 to 12) can use the Go City San Diego pass – All-Inclusive or Explorer pass – to visit the area’s top attractions and activities.

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Art Exhibits and Galleries at MCASD

The Museum of Contemporary Art boasts a collection of over 4,700 works of art in all mediums. Every piece of art on display was created after 1950, hence the contemporary nature of the collection.

During your visit, you’ll have the chance to view art from multiple areas of the globe, with a focus on art produced in Latin America and California, especially the San Diego and Tijuana region. There’s a wide range of representation including installation art, conceptual art, and samples of the minimalism and Pop Art trends that were popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. The museum is continually expanding its collection and rotating its displays, so there’s always something new and exciting to see no matter how many times you visit.

In addition to the extensive collection lining each room, the Museum of Contemporary Art also has temporary exhibitions that highlight a particular artist, movement, or aspect of contemporary art. These exhibitions provide greater detail on the importance of a selection of works, making them a great educational opportunity.

Collection Galleries

Collection galleries feature carefully selected works from the museum’s large collection, all of which have been thoughtfully arranged to communicate a message and help museum visitors develop a better understanding of contemporary art.

Since 1969, the Museum of Contemporary Art has been dedicated to collecting the works of twentieth century artists. In the museum’s early days, these included pieces by Miriam Shapiro, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Larry Bell, many of which have works that are still on display to this day. Throughout the years, the collection has only expanded, incorporating more modern artists and highlighting artists of different countries that often don’t get as much recognition as their American contemporaries.

Since the recent renovation, each room in the art gallery represents a particular period of art or a specific movement, showcasing select works from the relevant time period. Rooms may also be themed around a particular artist’s work, a given subject material, or other similarities between works of different decades, showing how artists have sought to depict and influence social movements throughout the years.

Galleries focus on innovative and abstract uses of artwork and various mediums in telling stories and conveying meaning.

Activities and Tours Designed for Kids

Contrary to the tired cliché of only stuffy old people being interested in art, many kids find art to be enticing and engaging!

In addition to guided tours of the museum and lectures from the artists themselves, which are geared more toward adults, the Museum of Contemporary Art offers plenty of kid-focused educational opportunities for younger visitors.

Programs offered include the family-friendly Prebys Play Day and a Teen Advisory Group.

On the second Sunday of each month, kids are invited to Conrad Prebys Learning Center for a guided exploration of the museum. Prebys Play Day includes a tour of the exhibits geared toward young children, alongside hands-on activities that let kids express their creative sides, and at-your-own-pace guides. Admission is free, and the museum can even arrange transportation if needed.

Designed for older kids, the Teen Advisory Group encourages local teens to learn about not only contemporary art and the museum itself, but also various social issues, all examined through the frame of relevant art on display. Teens have the opportunity to create their own inspirational multi-disciplinary works of art while learning from local artists, art organizations, and museum staff, providing an invaluable resource for any young art enthusiast.

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What to Know Before You Visit MCASD

Avoid any unnecessary headaches on your relaxing San Diego vacation or weekend trip to the museum by considering these tips when planning your day.

Free Days

If you’re traveling on a budget, consider taking advantage of the museum’s free days, which are the second Sunday and third Thursday of every month.

Be Respectful of the Art

Exhibits at the museum are not interactive, and no touching of the artwork is permitted to prevent potential damage. Visitors may take photographs, but most exhibits prohibit guests from taking videos. Breaking these rules could result in ejection from the museum without a refund.

Where to Park and How to Get to the Museum

Museum visitors may park for free in front of the museum and on the adjoining streets for up to two hours.

If you don’t have a car, San Diego does offer ride shares such as Uber and Lyft. You can also reach the museum via one of San Diego’s public buses, the MTS Bus Line #30.

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