L.A. Museum Redesign Aims to Redefine How the Public Engages Art

Soon to be unveiled plans for a $650 million redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art by Pritzker Prize winning architect Peter Zumthor "would rank as one of the most significant works of architecture to rise in Los Angeles," if completed.
May 2, 2013, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Next month LACMA will publicly unveil a $650-million plan by Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor for a dramatic new museum building along Wilshire Boulevard," reports Christopher Hawthorne. "If completed it would rank as one of the most significant works of architecture to rise in Los Angeles since Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall opened 10 years ago. It would also require demolishing the core of the museum's campus, including the original 1965 buildings by William L. Pereira and a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates of New York."

As Christina Binkley writes in The Wall Street Journal, the project is the centerpiece of museum director Michael Govan's quest to "to radically redefine how the public engages art—and shift the center of the art world west."

"Glass walls that permit the museum's art to be viewed from as far away as Wilshire Boulevard are key elements of Zumthor's prototype, which would connect other buildings—including a beloved Japanese pavilion and an Academy of Motion Pictures museum—with an indoor-outdoor art park, where visitors can wander at will and preview exhibitions before entering. 'The idea is to make it permeable by people,' Govan says, even if those people can peer in without buying a ticket."

"Success for LACMA will require more than an eye-catching new entrance and expanded collections and exhibitions," says Binkley. "For Govan, it demands architecture so notable that people will fly from Paris, Rome, Athens—and New York—to experience it."

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Published on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 in Los Angeles Times
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