WEEP FOR LACMA

                AS THE MUSEUM BREAKS UP ITS COLLECTION

 

FIGHT FOR THE SOUL OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART

JUST SAY NO



WHERE DID THE PICASSOS GO?
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is replacing four of its buildings with a dysfunctional, costly structure that will dismantle the historic collections that have made LACMA the largest encyclopedic museum west of the Mississippi. Without spaces for departments, a single-story building resembling an Italian highway rest stop will throw distinguished collections amassed over decades into a raffle bowl of objects to be reshuffled in constantly changing shows. The collections, the core of the museum, which Angelenos have visited for decades, will be orphaned. You won’t be able to find that painting you love.

LACMA WILL LOSE ITS SOUL

COUNT ALL THE UNFORCED ERRORS
7 REASONS WHY:

Size matters. Four existing LACMA buildings will be replaced with a single pavilion with two thirds of the existing gallery space and half the wall space, at a time when the museum should be doubling its square footage. Paintings and entire collections will disappear into storage, perpetually lost to public view.

HOW SMART IS THAT?

MORE HERE

By demolishing its headquarter structures, LACMA is splitting up its collections, sending them to the four corners of Los Angeles, fragmenting the museum, requiring you to drive to a half dozen branches in molasses traffic to see parts of the balkanized collection, just as the new Purple Line subway is arriving at LACMA’s front door.

HOW CLEVER IS THAT?

MORE HERE

After more than 10 years of design and more than $20 million in architects’ fees, the museum refuses to show even a floor plan, intentionally keeping it hidden from public scrutiny. The news must be pretty bad.

HOW TRANSPARENT IS THAT?

MORE HERE

The delusional $650 million price estimate for the structurally complicated construction, built in concrete to the specifications of a maniac for architectural detail, may climb to $1 billion. LACMA may eventually have to sell the Rembrandts to save itself.

HOW SHREWD IS THAT?

MORE HERE

The proposed one-story building could easily fit on the existing campus site north of Wilshire. There is absolutely no need to bridge Wilshire in search of more land, and no need to require that the museum be built on a single level.
HOW ASTUTE IS THAT?

Stripped of functions, the Zumthor design requires finding and renting facilities off campus, at huge and perpetual expense.

HOW PRACTICAL IS THAT?

MORE HERE

Aiming for a home run like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, LACMA instead is getting a Xerox. Zumthor essentially photocopied Oscar Niemeyer’s designs for a breezeway stretching over Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paolo, and even lifted the master’s concept of meandering Brazilian shapes for his “meander” corridor.
HOW ORIGINAL IS THAT?
THE MISSION TO SAVE LACMA
We’re all for a new and expanded LACMA but we oppose dismantling both the collection and the institution through architecture. The current design is ignoring the history of the museum and actually dismantling history itself as one of the collections’ structuring narratives. Architecture should build not destroy.