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Say good bye? Lacma’s main campus, on the right, could make way for a new expansion by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor

No one could accuse Michael Govan of being unambitious. The director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) is launching a $650m capital campaign to fund the construction of an expansive new home for the institution along Wilshire Boulevard. The new museum, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, would require the demolition of much of Lacma’s main campus, including three 1965 buildings by William L. Pereira—the Ahmanson, Hammer and Bing wings—as well as the 1986 Art of the Americas addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates of New York, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Julia Halperin
The Art Newspaper


Walter De Maria’s ‘The 2000 Sculpture’ at LACMA’s Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, where it will go on display for six months starting Oct. 1. (Collection Walter A. Bechter Foundation / LACMA)

Walter De Maria’s “The 2000 Sculpture,” an expansive array of plaster rods laid out in 20 rows 164 feet long, will have the floor, literally, for six months at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, starting Oct. 1.

The work may not be familiar to LACMA’s public, but the surroundings are familiar to the work, which occupied the same spot during the summer of 2010, when curators used “The 2000 Sculpture” to help fine-tune the new venue before its opening that fall.

“The sculpture provides an ideal way to test the Resnick Pavilion’s capacity to deal with large-scale work in the context of its architecture,” is how museum director Michael Govan put it at the time, in a post on LACMA’s “Unframed” blog. “The installation of a monumental work as we acclimate this building gives us the chance to test new strategies in anticipation of future projects where we may choose to use the entire space for major installations.”


Mike Boehm
LA Times

After nearly half a year of delays, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 340-ton monolith, sitting in a Riverside County quarry, will begin its long, circuitous journey to the museum Tuesday night.

The boulder will hit the road on its custom-built transporter about 10 p.m. and will move at about 5 miles per hour. It will travel at night only. It’s due to arrive at LACMA early March 10.

Beginning the following Monday, the boulder will be positioned outside the Resnick Pavilion, where it will form the center of artist Michael Heizer’s sculpture “Levitated Mass.”

The rock will travel through four counties and 22 cities, so it’s no surprise that the numerous delays have been mostly due to permit issues — not to mention the logistics of moving a two-story-high chunk of granite, weighing 680,000 pounds, through congested urban areas. More than 100 utilities will be affected by the rock’s passage, and utility crews will travel with the rock to temporarily remove power lines, traffic lights and other obstacles, then immediately restore them once the rock has passed through.

The rock’s first stopping point, at 5 a.m. Wednesday, will be at Mission Boulevard and Bellegrave Avenue in Ontario.

Heizer will not be at the quarry to see his rock off; but museum director Michael Govan plans to give a short address.


Deborah Vankin
Los Angeles Times

Berggruen is focusing on German and West Coast artists, including Chris Burden, whose Metropolis II (right) is already on loan to Lacma from the collector

The private collector and billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, son of the late German-Jewish art dealer and philanthropist Heinz Berggruen, is set to follow in the footsteps of the collector Eli Broad by sending several works on long-term loans to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma), where Berggruen is a trustee. “I’m building up a collection for Lacma,” he says, “focusing on German artists such as Thomas Schütte, Martin Kippenberger, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys.” Works by West Coast artists such as John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman and Mike Kelley from Berggruen’s collection are also due to end up at the museum. “Los Angeles is still a developing cultural centre and that’s why one can make a difference there,” he says. His father, Heinz Berggruen, sold his collection of modern masterpieces for $120m—one-tenth of its value—to Berlin in 2000. There is now a museum in the city to house these holdings.


Gareth Harris
The Art Newspaper

The ink is nearly dry on a $150,000 deal for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) to oversee the restoration and preservation of the city’s Watts Towers. Funding for the year-long project will come from Los Angeles’s department of cultural affairs. During that time the museum will draw up costs for the long-term conservation of the Simon Rodia-built towers, suggest potential funders and enlist the help of other local institutions, including the Getty Museum and the California African American Museum.

Director of Lacma’s conservation department, Mark Gilberg, aims to take a more holistic approach to conservation efforts, which up until now have been short-term. “We are rethinking procedures and adopting ones that will be more proactive than reactive,” says Gilberg. Initial delays regarding insurance concerns have been resolved with the promise that Lacma will not be financially responsible for any gross negligence while working on the towers.


Marisa Mazria Katz
The Art Newspaper

A few weeks ago I noted that a couple of museums were beginning to explore making content more available via the web: LACMA posted a few catalogue essays, lots of museums now have Flickr streams, and so on.

Here’s a logical next step: Putting old, long out-of-print exhibition catalogues online, Google Books-style. LACMA, which has apparently decided to challenge the Indianapolis Museum of Art for the title of Most Web-Creative Museum, has launched an entire site dedicated to its 1967-71 Art & Technology project. You can browse the project online artist by artist or you can download the project catalogue as a PDF. At LACMA’s Unframed blog, Tom Drury discusses why the whole project is exceptional. (Aside: Why don’t more museums put old catalogues/scholarship online this way? No idea.)

Tyler Green
Modern Art Notes

From Tom Drury’s blog, Unframed, as referenced above:

James Turrell and Robert Irwin

The provenance of James Turrell’s Afrum (White) can be traced back to the Art and Technology exhibition of 1971. We’ve recently made it easy to learn about this fabled show by putting its catalogue online. Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound that exciting, but trust me. It’s a different kind of catalogue—candid, original, and often very funny. “I loved the catalogue,” the sculptor Claes Oldenburg once said. “It’s full of gossip and history and time passing and attitudes.”

It was written by then-LACMA curators Maurice Tuchman and Jane Livingston and entitled A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art 1967–1971. It tells the story of how LACMA, then around two years old, set out to place artists within high-tech corporations to see what would happen. Two exhibitions resulted, one at the Osaka World’s Fair in 1970 and one at LACMA the following year.

What makes the catalogue so compelling is its unconventional tendency to disclose everything: who backed the project and who was skeptical, contracts and letters, successes and dead ends, tales of the mutually beneficial interactions that resulted (notably Robert Irwin and James Turrell’s work with the Garrett Corporation) and of the mutually baffling (see John Chamberlain and the Rand Corporation). And all conveyed in a candid, deadpan style that makes the whole thing pretty charming. Here is the last line of an entry about Donald Judd, who exchanged letters (included) with the curators but did not end up participating: “Judd did not contact us while in California in September, 1969 and we could not locate him.”