LACMA Has Tar Trouble, and a Former Director is "Baffled" by Zumthor Project
Critic and CultureGrrl blogger Lee Rosenbaum reports that shifting ground has caused Clark Construction to disassemble two large cranes being used for construction of the Peter Zumthor-designed David Geffen Galleries. A notice on LACMA's Unframed site attributes the move to "unique conditions presented by the tar pits… As a result the cranes were disassembled while adjustments are made to the crane bases and contingency plans for temporary mobile cranes are in place to accommodate this change without impact to the project."
This leaves Rosenbaum (and the rest of us) wondering just how a big a deal this is. LACMA has battled tar throughout its existence. Occasionally the tar has won (as when it forced closure of William Pereira's original reflecting pools.)
Rosenbaum also has comments on the Zumthor building by a former LACMA director. That's Graham W. J. Beal, who directed LACMA (1996-1999) before an extended tenure at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Beal told Rosenbaum:
"I was no fan of the Pereira buildings… but I am utterly baffled by the Zumthor project.… Ever-changing installations of the permanent collections and a handful of satellites seem like very expensive undertakings. When the Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer building opened in 1986, Robert Hughes likened it to the Monty Python foot that obliterates everything, and said it'd done the 'impossible'—made you feel sorry for the original structures. I'm tempted to repeat that! Mostly, I find the [Zumthor] amoeba design unprepossessingly bland."