I don’t know how much you know about Vincent Price. If you’re over forty, you probably think of him as somebody who made a lot of horror flicks. If you’re under forty, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of him. Actually, Vincent Price was a fine actor who worked in film, theatre, radio and TV. Sure, some of the movies he made were lame, but he did a lot of first rate work in films like Laura, Leave Her to Heaven and The Masque of the Red Death.
But he was also an art collector, and that’s why he has a museum named after him at East Los Angeles College. Before becoming an actor, Price studied art history at Yale, and in later years he travelled extensively giving lectures on the subject. In the fifties he decided it was important for art students to have access to paintings and drawings for their studies, and that was when he and his wife began donating works to ELAC. In 1957 they gave 90 pieces to the college. Now the VPAM collection consists of over 9,000 objects.
On the day I visited, the museum offered three shows from the permanent collection. The survey of Mexican modernism was excellent. I was also impressed by the twentieth century American and European art on display. (Honestly, I just took a quick stroll through the room full of pre-Colombian stuff. Not my cup of tea.) But the museum also develops its own shows and hosts travelling exhibitions. If you’re interested in checking out their upcoming shows, here’s the link.
The VPAM is open Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free. Now that I’ve been there, I’m definitely planning on going back.