Your kids know all about lions, tigers and bears, but now they can get up close and personal with bakus, tengus and megu-chans! These fascinating creatures are currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art exhibit––and they’re sure to wow your whole family. After all, it’s not every day you see a half-human/half-crow that’s excellent at martial arts, or an elephant, lion, ox tribrid that eats nightmares! Read on to plan this extraordinary museum outing.

An Enchanting Exhibit

LACMA’s Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art exhibit features real and imaginary animals through sculpture, painting, lacquer-work, ceramics, metalwork, cloisonné, and woodblock prints. Kids will learn about mythical beasts including dragons and phoenixes and they’ll also spy dogs, horses, oxen, lions, cats, fish, insects and more, featured in compelling masterpieces that demonstrate Japan’s reverence for nature.

Installation photographs Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 22, 2019 – December 08, 2019, photo © Museum Associates/ LACMA

Follow the Family Guide for the Greatest Experience

Immerse yourselves in exploring Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art via an engaging and informational family guide that highlights six artworks and includes fun activities. For instance, kids can find out what their pet or favorite stuffed animal’s nickname would be according to artist Yayoi Kusama after learning about her vibrant, polka-dotted dog sculpture. They can also draw a picture of a baku, a mythical creature that eats nightmares, that’s featured on a pair of pillows in the exhibit. The guide suggests kids cut out and take home their new baku to place under their pillow to ward off bad dreams––prompting them to relish their museum experience long past the confines of the exhibit.

Discover Your Japanese Zodiac Animal

Look for the zodiac animal chart on the wall in the first gallery with your family. You can use your birth years to discover each of your Japanese Zodiac animals and then record them in the chart included in the family guide. Who in your group will be a monkey, a snake, a rabbit or a dragon? You’ll soon find out!

Installation photographs Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 22, 2019 – December 08, 2019, photo © Museum Associates/ LACMA

Sunday Funday

LACMA hosts Andell Family Sundays highlighting the Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art, exhibit. Gather your clan and bond at this educational event that will give you all something to talk about. From gallery tours and artist-led workshops where kids can make their own mythical and supernatural animal-inspired creations, this is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Andell Family Sundays featuring this exhibit are Nov 3, 10, 17 & 24, 2019 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Installation photographs Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 22, 2019 – December 08, 2019, photo © Museum Associates/ LACMA

Save the Date!

Mark your calendar to visit LACMA on Nov. 17 to celebrate the Nebuta Festival, a famous festival in Japan, right here in Los Angeles. You’ll behold an enormous paper lantern float depicting the Japanese folk hero Kintoki by Nebuta Master Hiroo Takenami, and be treated to performances by taiko drummers, flute and hand cymbal players, and dancers.

Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art is on display now through Dec. 8, 2019 in LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion. Get tickets today! Bonus: L.A. County youth 17 and under are always free.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-857-6000
Online: lacma.org/art/exhibition/every-living-thing-animals-japanese-art

––Beth Shea