ICA LA: New Museum Debuts Downtown

Did you adore the Santa Monica Museum of Art? Find its fresh digs and fresh look on E. 7th Street.

Explaining to a Southern Californian how something amazing can sort of be two things at the very same time?

In this imagination-drenched, movie-making, outlandishly outlandish land, you don't even need to try: We get it. We understand that the Golden State Freeway can also be called the 5, a taco can be both a perfect breakfast and dinner, and a new museum can be a place we've already been... sort of.

Take the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which officially opens on Saturday, Sept. 9 in the Arts District downtown. Chances are very strong, we'll wager, that you haven't visited this museum at its brand-new location, 1717 E. 7th Street, in order to enjoy art, but you may have visited it at Bergamot Station, back when ICA LA was the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

In short? The new art destination is something that existed, a few years ago, prior to the museum's Santa Monica closure in May 2015, but it is now transformed, and occupying fresh digs, several miles from its original home base.

So ICA LA is the same and yet totally different? That's a twisty, through-the-looking-glass viewpoint, but it is a start.

Now where to start exploring this spacious, bright, and idea-filled venue? Artist Sarah Cain's "Now I'm Going to Tell You Everything" makes for an eye-popping exterior piece, with splashes of hue, but you'll want to immediately saunter inside for more opening exhibitions.

Those include "Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation," "Abigail DeVille: No Space Hidden (Shelter)," "Skip Arnold: Truffle Hunt," "Harold Szeemann's Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us."

"Admission is always free" to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, which is keeping robust opening-week hours, for everyone who wants to stop by and check it out.

And checking it out should require some time: Beyond the exhibitions, an online map of the space reveals a Projects room, an Events area, a Café, and a Courtyard, in addition to an office for staff.

So, lovers of art of Southern California: Can you quickly change how you've traditionally shorthandled this great institution? No longer do you need to say, or write, rather, SMMoA; now ICA LA is the way to go.

And the way to go is not along Olympic and Cloverfield Boulevards, to Bergamot Station, but directly to the Arts District, in DTLA, on E. 7th Street, where fresh works, a fresh space, and longtime holders of the art-loving, art-presenting flame have now set up a permanent, hello-again, welcome-back museum.

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