Mapping Fiction

"A building shaped like an antler—you can't miss it!" Miracle Mile visitors may be thrown by this new signage depicting Peter Zumthor's LACMA project as built reality. Good luck finding the Wilshire/Fairfax Metro station, too.


Well, the footprint certainly looks interesting.
No other US museums come to mind in terms of its shape.
Maybe, like the Louvre's pyramid and New York's Guggenheim, it will take a generation or two for the city to warm up to it.
I don't hate it.
Anonymous said…
Why is SAG/AFTA on there? Do they have anything for people to see?
Anonymous said…
The notion of "warming up" to the Zumthor building isn't as much an issue as it's a case of a new structure that is operationally-technically self-limiting. It will, however, be an ideal selfie-type museum, nicer for people with short-attention spans.

It will better fit the stereotype of Los Angeles as the land of Hollywood airheads and air-kiss dilettantes.

Although William Pereira's 1965 buildings certainly weren't above that, compared with Govan's folly, they at least didn't bust the budget. They were also symbolically less inexcusable in a city that at the time was still more closely identified with "way out on the coast" immaturity.
It certainly has a blobbiness aspect to it, and may pose display problems, as do the circular Hirshhorn in DC and Guggenheim in New York.
From the aerial silhouette its form seems to be paying homage to the La Brea Tar Pit next door, although I suppose that may not have been the architects' intent.
Anonymous said…
Zumthor's building is a debacle, if only because it will put great stress for years into the future on LACMA's budget.

Even before Govan's need to satisfy his ego and vanity (and creative fetish), the museum wasn't exactly awash with cash. That's the reason the original campus had such a makeshift or hodge-podge quality about it. A lack of enough funds through the decades was why LACMA was never properly fully remodeled or fully renovated to begin with.

Forget about whether the blob will be technically, operationally, aesthetically good or not. Actually, I think it will work in a gimmicky, Bilbao-type type way. But it will likely result in LACMA being in a financial hole for a long time, one that's as sticky and messy as the nearby La Brea Tar Pits are.

Making things even worse? The economy is already entering a rocky, post-pandemic era.
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Now that the project gauntlet has been fully thrown down, the question remains: how will the city persevere with one of its premier museums in a black hole of debt?
In this new robber-baron[ess] age of income inequality, LA is a city awash in a sea of money. If Mr. Govan got LA in this fine mess, why isn't he knocking on doors to get the needed funds to make the museum coffers whole again?
Don't the ultrarich in LA want civic fame?
Anonymous said…
Michael Govan is doing to LACMA what Barry Munitz did to the Getty during his years as head of the Getty Trust in the 2000s. However, Govan isn't skirting the boundaries of greed and a lack of ethics as much as what Munitz did. But Govan is nonetheless pushing the envelope.

As with Munitz, Govan (mercifully) will also eventually go away---although Munitz is listed as on the board of directors of the Broad Museum. But the damage to LACMA will be greater. The Getty had a nice amount of cash left in its coffers after Munitz said sayonara. After Govan, LACMA probably won't.