LACMA Downsize Follows Lagging Fundraising

The website for LACMA's Zumthor building project has been updated to reflect the downsized design. The site reports that "approximately $560 million has already been raised… and the museum's board of trustees and leadership are actively engaged in securing the remaining amount." The goal, unchanged, is $650 million.

Context: Last July Michael Govan told the Los Angeles Times: "We basically need to be at $600 million by the end of this calendar year." Else: "It's not gonna work."
Thus in the past nine months the museum has raised only about $10 million. Fundraising goes in spurts, but at that rate it would take 3 years to reach $600M and nearly 7 years to make $650M. LACMA is still projecting a 2023 completion date for the construction project.

The obvious surmise is that LACMA patrons are pretty much tapped out, and it was necessary to scale back the building about 10 percent given that fundraising is about 14 percent short of the $650M goal.
Even with the reductions the LACMA site repeats this talking point: "Gallery space will not be reduced because the design of the new building is more efficient and better suited to showcasing the museum's collections."

The Environmental Impact Report disagrees with the first part. It says that 11,500 sf have been cut from galleries. Govan has long maintained that the Zumthor building would be able to show more of the collection because (a) the existing buildings are a relatively inefficient use of exhibition space (this is easy to believe); and (b) the pavilions below the main galleries would have exhibition space, and they were contemplating dense open-storage installations.

In the latest iteration, the pavilions are rectilinear and have much more glass. It looks like an aesthetic improvement at street level—but the glass will place restrictions on the type of art that can be shown. In the rendering at top the people in the glassed-in pavilion across the street are looking at a rather sparse installation of paintings and sculptures.


Anonymous said…
The only major good thing about the Govan-Zumthor Museum of Art is it supposedly being a required part of Jerry Perenchio's bequest. Beyond that, LACMA will be hurt in so many ways, that the advantage of a major gift of Impressionist and modern artwork will start to fade as each year goes by. Then a flailing, tottering LACMA will be the eventual legacy.