A Modest Proposal II: UC Irvine Should Buy the Marciano

William Pereira, second from left, with 1962 master plan for UC Irvine campus
Three years ago I made the facetious suggestion that UC Irvine save William Pereira's LACMA building from the wrecking ball by moving it to Irvine, to serve as the university's planned Institute and Museum of California Art. Pereira had in fact picked a site for a future art museum in his 1962 master plan for the campus.

UCI now has two major art collections and needs a place to show them. But new UCI-IMCA director Kim Kanatani has put all previously announced museum plans and timelines on hold. Even Pereira's center-campus location is being reconsidered. Richard Chang, in the Voice of Orange County, writes that "the museum is still back to square one. While tangible plans were in motion two years ago, now everything is up in the air again."

So here's another modest proposal. The Marciano Brothers have an architecturally significant museum on Wilshire they might be willing to let go of at a reasonable price. Move it to Irvine, or keep it just where it is as UCI's first satellite museum. The 1961 building, with 110,000 sf, is the same vintage as the UCI campus and almost exactly the size previously contemplated for the IMCA.
Millard Sheets (1962) and wHY Architects (2017), Marciano Art Foundation


Anonymous said…
I wonder if the Marciano would have closed if its owners hadn't been challenged by their employees? Or if attendance were very good and existing expenses were manageable?

It may have instead been like the Pasadena Museum of California Art, which had tepid attendance, a lot of ongoing expenses and not enough income.

Regardless, I suspect the Marciano brothers primarily didn't realize what a money pit they had gotten themselves into.