|Renderings by Frederick Fisher and Partners, Studio MLA, and Studio Joseph. Courtesy NHMLA|
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has supplied new renderings of its "NHM Commons" entrance wing, designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners. The opening date has been moved up a year, to 2024. Assuming the dates hold, that would still put it a year ahead of the neighboring Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (set to open 2025) and LACMA's David Geffen Galleries (construction to be completed by "late 2024," which probably means a 2025 opening).
NHMLA's Judith Perlstein Welcome Center, to be open to the public without a ticket, will have a green dinosaur, the only Diplodocus skeleton on the West Coast. The color is due to fossilization minerals. Discovered in Utah, the 70-foot-long dinosaur will be the second-largest object in the hall. It will face Barbara Carrasco's 80-foot-long mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective.
|Barbara Carrasco, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective (small detail), 1981|
The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency commissioned the mural for the city's 1981 bicentennial. But the agency objected to Carrasco's inclusion of the darker side of the L.A. story: the Zoot Suit riots, the internment of Japanese-Americans, and the white-washing of David Alfaro Siqueiros' mural América Tropical. Ironically, Carrasco's mural suffered a similar fate. The city refused to show it, and it went into storage, unseen for decades. NHMLA purchased it a few years ago.
|Detail representing the World War II incarceration of Japanese-Americans|
|Detail showing the people of 1980s Los Angeles, including Mayor Tom Bradley, Fernando Valenzuela, Ricardo Montalban, and Rick James. How many can you name?|
I hope the Welcome Center is not a narrow passageway where you can't step back and appreciate the scale… but I wouldn't prejudge it from these images.
There's not much dimension to it --- a single vertabra constitutes much of its body. As with most skeletons, it is also symmetric.
I would say because we don't see such beautiful creatures as these every day, and if you can walk about it, it gives a greater sense of wonder. As is, they've unnecessarily fashioned a bas-relief.
A fossil is not a sculpture in the round. When it was discovered (in the ground), the fossil was in effect a bas-relief (a mold or cast in rock).
Thus, presenting it this way appropriately engages the scientific imagination.