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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Los Angeles approves $ 650 M renovation of the LACMA museum

"It's the green light we expected," said Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art . Ten years after the announcement of the contract between the California institution and the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor , the County Council confirmed its support for the renovation of Lacma.

Last Tuesday, councilors - validated the museum's environmental impact report, - approved the demolition of four of its buildings - decided to invest $ 117.5 million in the reconstruction of the exhibition spaces. Leaders of the project hope to see the opening of the museum by 2023.

At first, the new building designed by Peter Zumthor - named The Blop - was planned to be black and inspired by Jean Arp's amorphous sculptures. The recent image reveals a beige frame with a simplified horizontal silhouette, close to the letter "S". This 320,000 sqf structure will house part of the Lacma permanent collections. It will replace four buildings of the museum dating from the years 1960-1990. The budget for the operation is $ 650 million.

In addition to Los Angeles County, several players have already invested in renovation. In the first place the supervisory board of Lacma, which raised the sum of 125 million dollars. Then Elaine Wynn , co-chair of the museum's board of directors, and A. Jerrold Perenchio, a multimillionaire from California, who will personally contribute $ 50 million and $ 25 million .

The most important financial contribution comes from American businessman and collector David Geffen : 150 million dollars. A largesse whose exceptionality has earned a tribute: the new building will be named after the name of the New York donor.

If the architecture of future Galleries David Geffen convinced the municipality as well as celebrities such as Brad Pitt or Diane Keaton, the project remains controversial. In particular, a modern design little compatible with the surrounding urban landscape, and the loss of 4,000 m2 of space. "We knew that this construction would not offer as much space as with the current configuration [...] we will have 20,000 m² devoted to exhibitions on Wilshire Boulevard. It's a big museum. For me, it's the right size, " defends Michael Govan with the Los Angeles Times . For her part, Sheila Kuel, elected to the city council, relativizes: "There have been critics, and there will always be some" .

The Lacma fundraising has raised $ 550 million to date. If the rest of the budget is quickly met and approved by the city's engineering office, work can start at the end of 2019.

Article : Antonin Gratien , Le journal des arts

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