A Critic Who Praises Zumthor-LACMA (& Isn't So Sure About L.A.)
|LACMA is not as bad as Myra Breckinridge (1970), says critic|
I'll leave you to read the piece, as it packs multiple jaw-drops. Suffice to say that Allen is more keen on Zumthor's building than he is on Los Angeles.
"Yes, LACMA long aspired to become an encyclopedic big-city museum… and it fell short. Not a Myra Breckinridge–type flop, but a chronic disappointment…
"The land of Tinsel Town and the Beach Boys seems to promise nothing but a supporting part for an art museum, under any circumstances. It's a place where people want to be outside, unless they're seeing a movie. Its rich people are more often than not stingy, narcissistic, and demanding. Couth isn't a native species. It's hard to nourish a museum where traditional is devalued, where the new is prized above all else, where so much is fake, and where nothing is permanent."
I'll bet you haven't heard an East Coast publication say that aloud since Myra Breckinridge was at the drive-in.
CORRECTION. An earlier version of the post identified Allen as former director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. That's a different Brian Allen; the writer of the National Review piece, who uses the middle initial T., was formerly director of the Addison Gallery of American Art.
It's a combination of damning with faint praise and snickering about what a flop - financially too - LA's main art museum is going to become. It's also being okay with the current buildings but still praising the Zumthor-Govan debacle. It's Allen saying the collection is good but also implying LA is an air-headed wasteland that doesn't deserve a great museum.
The clincher is the writer admires Michael Govan. That automatically means the essayist for National Review is a fool.
Govan and his minions are going to wreck the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, financially, technically, operationally, attitudinally, spiritually and symbolically.
LACMA's director needs to take a long walk off a short pier.
But this part is something:
"I like Govan. He’s a Williams man, as am I, and part of the famous “Williams Mafia” of directors and curators, as was I.” Lord.