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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
we all know the expansion is well under way. But I can't see that anyone has posted this signature sculpture by Jeff Koons which would stand at the new museum entrance.

While technically not a building, this proposed sculpture would be just over 16 stories tall!

Crap. I can't figure out how to post the rendering. Anyone have a sec to post "how to post a pic" for tech UNsavvy me?

OR just go here. . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/05/arts/design/05koon.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

-doug
 

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I'm sure is some kind of donation for the Museum. Therefore we should showcase it for everyone to check it out. Also the fact that is going to be sixteen stories.... Wow!
 

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March 6, 2007

BP gives $25 million to LACMA
The BP donation will go toward a solar entrance that the British oil firm hopes will invoke energy innovation.

By Mike Boehm, Times Staff Writer

A $25-million donation from BP has capped phase one of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's three-part expansion and renovation campaign. Solar panels atop a new entry pavilion named for the British oil company will signal BP's wish to be seen as an environmental innovator. LACMA plans to announce today that the glass-encased structure will be called the BP Grand Entrance. It's under construction along with the adjacent Broad Contemporary Art Museum, with both additions to the museum's Wilshire Boulevard campus projected to open next February. The entrance is a key point in architect Renzo Piano's plan to unify LACMA's sprawling, often confusing layout of buildings.

Bob Malone, chairman and president of Houston-based BP America, said the gift betokens a commitment to the arts and a steady philanthropic role in Los Angeles. Before it was merged into BP in 2000, L.A.-based Arco was hailed locally for its philanthropy, including a $10-million donation in 1997 for the Walt Disney Concert Hall. To allay concerns over the merger, BP promised to donate at least $100 million to California charities within 10 years. Malone said that BP's gift to LACMA is free-standing and won't be counted toward the $100 million. He said the same goes for a recently announced $500-million, 10-year research grant to UC Berkeley and other institutions to develop alternative, cleaner-burning fuels.

Since 2002, BP has agreed to more than $125 million in legal settlements with state and regional agencies over pollution problems.

BP reported profits of $22 billion in 2006 and a record $22.3 billion in 2005. The $25 million for LACMA matches Walt Disney Co.'s 1997 gift for Disney Hall as the biggest corporate donation to the arts in Los Angeles' recent memory. It comes as the arts recede as a cause for big corporations. A survey by the Conference Board, a nonprofit business research organization, showed a 6.1% drop in average arts giving from 2002 to 2005, according to figures from the Americans for the Arts advocacy group.

Malone said he became a LACMA fan while president of BP's L.A.-based Western regional office from 2000 to 2002, before his four-year transfer to London. "There's a huge need not to lose the arts" as a focus for corporate philanthropy, said Malone, who announced a three-year, $3.4-million BP grant to the Chicago Symphony in November.

He said that Eli Broad, who gave $60 million to LACMA's campaign with his wife, Edythe, was a rainmaker for the donation. More than a year ago, BP first gave $1 million to LACMA's endowment campaign. Malone said he subsequently called Broad after being put in charge of U.S. operations, asking him to recommend causes in L.A. "where we could make a difference."

In courting the gift from BP's top executives in London, LACMA Director Michael Govan said he emphasized "access and energy" as hallmarks of the new museum entrance that would be a symbolic fit for a gasoline seller (BP's brands in California are Arco and Thrifty) interested in making art more available to the public. It was BP's idea to make the energy connection literal. The solar panels will help feed the museum's power needs.

Last year, LACMA announced it was going to name the new entrance the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Grand Entrance Pavilion, in honor of their $25-million gift early in the campaign. Lynda Resnick, a vice chair on LACMA's board said they were happy to step aside to clear the pipeline for BP's millions; they'll instead apply their donation — and more — to an as-yet-unannounced, "really exciting" new feature in the second phase.

Without giving details, Govan, hired just over a year ago, said he had "expanded the ambition" of LACMA's pay-as-you-go overhaul and expansion. The first-phase goal was $150 million when announced two years ago; BP's gift closes out first-phase fundraising at $191 million. Govan said that "although we exceeded our goal," factors such as financing and rising construction costs do not mean that LACMA has a $41-million windfall.

For BP, environmentally tinged largess comes after several years of environmental mishaps in California. In 2002, BP paid the state $45.8 million to settle a suit over pollution from leaking gasoline storage tanks. Later, air quality regulators sued over leakage of smog-forming chemicals at BP's Carson refinery. BP settled for $81 million.

"Yes, we've had some incidents ... we deeply regret, and we're in action to get those right," Malone said. Topping a structure like the LACMA entrance with solar panels sends a message that BP and California are serious about setting a green example, he said.

And putting an oil company's name on LACMA's doorway brings an unusually high potential for controversy, Govan acknowledged. "What was convincing to me was their commitment to sustainable energy.... We won't make the transition without the help and cooperation of these major corporations."
 

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March 9, 2007

LACMA director changes plan for new entrance
Citing the city's fine weather, director Michael Govan opts for an open-air design instead of a 'glass box.'


By Mike Boehm, Times Staff Writer

Visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will get an alfresco welcome when its new entrance pavilion opens next winter, instead of the glassed-in greeting initially envisioned two years ago by architect Renzo Piano.

The switch comes at the behest of museum director Michael Govan who, after being hired away from New York's Dia Art Foundation a year ago, decided that a glass pavilion would be a waste of good Southern California weather. The BP Grand Entrance, named Tuesday in honor of a $25-million gift from the oil company, will have a roof for rare rainy days and solar panels to exploit the many sunny ones. Otherwise, it will be an open-air structure, a sort of mega-gazebo on the museum's doorstep, supported by steel beams painted a bright red-orange.

"I come from New York, and it would kill me to go into a glass box" instead of enjoying the weather while milling outside the museum, Govan quipped in an interview after announcing the BP donation from a podium set up in front of the entrance's steel skeleton.

Along with the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, under construction just west of the new entrance and also expected to open next February, the BP Grand Entrance is a signature feature of Phase One of the museum's incremental renovation and expansion. Two additional phases are projected, but only after enough money is raised for each part; fundraising is now complete for the first phase at $191 million, which will cover construction and a boost to LACMA's endowment.

Other new features of the first phase are a park behind the Broad building, dotted with large sculptures, and an underground parking garage. Construction expenses, including architects' fees and other "soft costs," are projected at $156 million, LACMA officials said.

Omitting glass walls and doors saved $2.5 million, but Govan said the change to the entrance is "not about savings, it's about efficiency and meaning." The signal he hopes visitors will get by being outside on arrival is that the museum is an outdoor experience as well as an indoor pursuit, "a kind of town square for Los Angeles" — with the park and its sculptures to be enjoyed along with the works inside the seven exhibition buildings strung along Wilshire Boulevard.

Make that eight, if Govan has his way with another new element: an additional museum building that would be planted over the parking garage during the LACMA makeover's second phase. He wants more space to show off the collection, which ranges from ancient to contemporary art, and to give the museum more flexibility for hosting traveling exhibitions.

Govan said that architect Piano has made preliminary schematic drawings for the building, and that its planning is being funded with part of the $25 million that LACMA backers Lynda and Stewart Resnick initially gave for the first phase, but decided to apply to Phase Two after BP stepped forward with its gift. Phase Two also includes renovations to the former May Co. department store building known as LACMA West.

Govan said the new Phase Two museum of his dreams would be comparable to Dia:Beacon, the skylit former factory on the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y., whose renovation he had overseen. The hallmarks, he said, would include lots of natural light, flexibility and a spacious "generosity of feeling ... elegant and functional."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
can anyone find a picture?

of the old entry vs. the new entry?

LA Times wonders why no one is interested in the paper. Here is a good example of poor journalism. A major new sctructure is announced, yet there are not pictures. ARGH!

-doug
 

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March 10, 2007
LACMA is considering a palm garden

Diane Haithman

On the heels of a vote by city officials to stop planting new fan palm trees in favor of sycamores, oaks and other leafy native species, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art says it is considering adding more palms as part of the redesign of its Wilshire Boulevard campus.

In a conversation with Robert Irwin, designer of the Getty Center gardens, at a museum event Thursday night, LACMA director Michael Govan said the museum was working with Irwin on tentative plans for a palm garden for the 17 acres of parkland behind the museum.

"It's just in process, not definite — there's no funding, no nothing yet," Govan said in an interview Friday. "We're doing research now about collecting palms; we made a few jokes about the mayor getting rid of palms. The thing is, they have so much to do with Los Angeles, they're such visible symbols of the city. One of the reasons Robert Irwin loves the palms is how the beautiful tall trunks hold the light, the sunset and sunrise of L.A."

Govan said the tentative plan called for adding new varieties of palm trees to complement the washingtonian and date palms already standing near the front of the museum campus. "If the palms of the city start to get replaced by oak trees, certainly they'll then find themselves as cultural objects, and it's almost incumbent on the museum to begin to collect them," he said.
 

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March 28, 2007
Resiliency is built into LACMA’s redesign
Renzo Piano calmly proceeds, despite returns to the drawing board and elements pulling focus from his architecture.


A $25-million gift from petroleum company BP prompted a new idea: an open-air entry hall with rooftop solar panels.

By Christopher Hawthorne, Times Staff Writer

In the last decade or so, we have learned to think of new museum buildings as a form of architectural entertainment — the more easily understandable, the better. The architecture itself may be elaborate (Libeskind in Denver, Herzog & de Meuron in Minneapolis) or refined (SANAA in New York, Gluckman in San Diego), but the aesthetic statement is almost always straightforward, the authorship of the buildings impossible to miss. Museum directors, as they pursue expansion, have been willing to sell off paintings and even trim their curatorial staffs. But cover up the architectural logo? Never.

That helps explain why the recent changes to Renzo Piano's expansion plans for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art seem so surprising, or at least so resistant to quick analysis. They are likely to make the experience of visiting LACMA richer even as they embrace a pop sensibility and veer close to some New York clich–s about California culture. And in bringing art and corporate identity to the foreground, they dim the spotlight on pricey, name-brand architecture.

The first phase of the expansion, budgeted at $156 million, includes a new parking garage, an expanded garden and two buildings by Piano along Wilshire Boulevard: a simple entry pavilion, which the architect originally modeled on L.A.'s Case Study houses, and the travertine-wrapped Broad Contemporary Art Museum, or BCAM.

Orchestrated by Michael Govan, who took over as LACMA director last year, the updates to the extension operate on two tracks. The first has to do with fundraising and programming. With some help from Eli Broad, Govan landed a $25-million gift from BP that will transform the pavilion into an open-air entry hall with solar panels on the roof — and the British oil company's name on the front. He then persuaded Lynda and Stewart Resnick, whose own $25-million gift was originally earmarked for the pavilion, to direct it instead to the construction of a new single-story gallery building by Piano directly behind BCAM. It will be part of the expansion's second phase, which will also include updates to the former May Co. building at Wilshire and Fairfax, known as LACMA West.

Even while executing that sleight of hand, Govan was recruiting artists to fill in the spaces around and in front of Piano's buildings. Surrounding BCAM like a wreath — or a playful chokehold — will be a palm garden by Robert Irwin, who proved with his garden at the Getty Center that he is hardly shy about confronting architectural celebrity. And just in front of the BP structure will be Jeff Koons' "Train," a massive artwork that includes a 70-foot locomotive dangling from a 160-foot crane.

Compared with Piano's earliest plans, the result, at least as Govan sees it, will be a museum more playful, more colorful and more comfortable with the fact that it is located in Southern California. The open-air pavilion will operate not just as a pathway into the galleries but also as a more conspicuous entry to the museum's parkland and sculpture gardens, which Piano's design extends to the north and west.

Govan's LACMA will also reduce the emphasis on the Piano brand. Recruited by Broad to replace Rem Koolhaas, whose aggressive scheme to remake the museum foundered on fundraising shoals, Piano brought his usual focus on clarity and refinement to the LACMA plan. He drew a thick east-west axis connecting LACMA West to the rest of the museum. And he filled out the BCAM design, the heart of his proposal's first phase, with broad, strong gestures. H-shaped in plan, the building will show art on three high-ceilinged, column-free floors.

But Piano had been working to loosen up his architecture for a Los Angeles audience long before Govan arrived here from the Dia Center for the Arts in New York. Early on, he attached a bright red escalator and stairs to the exterior of the blocky BCAM building and endorsed the idea of draping billboard-scale tapestries across its Wilshire facade. He tried to channel Charles and Ray Eames and Pierre Koenig in the entry pavilion. Not since he and Richard Rogers designed the 1977 Pompidou Center in Paris, Piano said last year, had he so fully embraced levity and color in a museum design.

For Govan, clearly, that effort didn't go far enough. Bringing Irwin and Koons on board will add some pop energy, a sense of humor and a touch of irreverence to the new LACMA buildings. Both the Koons train and the Irwin palm garden — but especially the train — carry heavy symbolic weight and a sensibility that couldn't be more different from Piano's work. The architect's recent projects stress rationality, the careful manipulation of light and a seamless, elegant marriage of technology and design. The train, which hangs perpendicular to the ground, seems to be hurtling straight at the pavement, ready to smash all those ideas to bits.

In part — and there is really no getting around this fact — the new elements also serve to camouflage Piano's architecture.

The architect himself, ever charming and unflappable, betrayed no anxiety about the new plan as he walked through the still-skeletal BCAM recently wearing a white hard hat. He praised Govan as a client, and it's easy to imagine that on an intellectual level, at the very least, the new director is a compelling sparring partner. To a different architect — younger, more aggressive, less sure of himself — Govan's changes might have been deeply threatening and maybe even cause for walking off the job altogether.

But just as there were risks in Piano's attempts to ground his LACMA design in L.A. culture — the connection to the Case Study program, for example, was a bit strained from the start — there are in Govan's as well. Any New York art expert ready to catalog the joys of Southern California — the sunshine! the scent of tropical flowers! all those cars on all those boulevards! — has to be careful not to alienate the locals with that very enthusiasm.

We should be glad, then, that Govan is at least polished enough not to resort to the crumbling clich–s we heard last week from Alanna Heiss, the director of the Queens, N.Y.-based MoMA affiliate P.S. 1. Heiss and P.S. 1 hold an annual competition to pick an architect to decorate the museum's courtyard during the summer. This year, the winner was a team made up of two 38-year-old architects from L.A., Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues.

Praising their design in the New York Times, Heiss said, "It seemed to us East Coast people really a present from the wilderness of California dreams."

We West Coast people hardly know where to begin with that phrase: the wilderness of California dreams. (I would have loved to run it by Milton Wexler, the analyst who worked for so many years with Frank Gehry and died two weeks ago at 98.) At the very least, if anyone wants to organize a conference on the theme of California art and architecture as seen through the lens of New York provincialism, we have a ready title.

Govan arrived in that wilderness last year with a deep supply of architectural credibility, having overseen the planning for Dia's outpost in Beacon, N.Y., along the Hudson River. In that 2003 project, Govan — working with Irwin and the New York architecture firm Open Office — turned an old Nabisco factory into one of the best new museum spaces to open anywhere in the last decade. Avoiding architectural fireworks, it is marked by a keen sense of proportion and light and a scrupulous attention to detail. Its success should buy Govan some time to execute his own vision here.

Still, there are few expansion projects in the country with more moving parts and a more tangled history than the one he has inherited at LACMA. Even if the first two phases come off cleanly — and that remains a pretty big "if" — there is the looming question of how to handle the jumble of buildings to the east: the Ahmanson, the Bing and the Hammer, not to mention the courtyards and staircases that connect and encircle them. Those buildings will be more resistant to architectural unification than the west side of the campus has been; figuring out what do with them is precisely where Govan will earn his keep.

 

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New York Times
Friday, April 6, 2007
A Museum Takes StepsTo Collect Houses
By EDWARD WYATT
Published: March 15, 2007

Shortly after moving here last year to take over as director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Michael Govan started looking at houses -- not as a place for him to live but as potential museum pieces.

His idea -- one that has rarely, if ever, been tried on a large scale by a major museum -- is to collect significant pieces of midcentury residential architecture, including houses by Rudolf M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd Wright, and to treat them as both museum objects and as residences for curators.

While he has yet to acquire any properties, Mr. Govan said this week that he certainly had his eye on some, including Frank Gehry's landmark residence in Santa Monica, a collage of tilting forms. In an interview Mr. Gehry confirmed that Mr. Govan had discussed the idea with him but said that no agreements about the house's future had been reached.

Mr. Govan, who moved here in March 2006 from New York, where he directed the Dia Art Foundation, said his project had been driven by the immediate impression that in Los Angeles, a city defined by outdoor spaces, architecture is inseparable from art.

''It started with an effort to rethink the museum, looking at the resources that are both locally powerful and internationally relevant,'' he said. ''It's clear that the most important architecture in Los Angeles is largely its domestic architecture. I've talked certainly to a number of people who have interesting architecture, and I'm beginning to talk to other people about raising funds to preserve these works.''

The potential cost of the houses varies widely. Many of the most distinctive properties, in Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Hills, have most recently sold for millions of dollars. Others, like Schindler's Buck House, on Eighth Street, barely two blocks from the museum, sold for less than half a million dollars in 1995, although it clearly would be worth more than double that today.

Mr. Govan was reluctant to discuss his plans in detail, partly because he has taken only ''baby steps,'' he said, but also because he does not want to set off bidding wars for houses in which he is interested. He said he hoped the museum could either buy houses or have them donated, the same ways that a museum would go about acquiring paintings or sculptures.

''This whole initiative will depend on generosity,'' he said. ''In the same way that someone would donate a Picasso, we want people to think of ways to see these houses as works of art and to think about ways to preserve them.''

Although he said he had received an ''enthusiastic response'' when he presented the idea to the museum's trustees, ''we have no funds at the moment'' dedicated to the effort, he added.

But the idea has already started to generate chatter in the architecture community here. Richard Koshalek, president of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and a former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, said Mr. Govan's effort was ''not only crucial for the city of Los Angeles but for the history of modern architecture.''

''Architects learn from other architects,'' Mr. Koshalek said. ''This history will be lost if people like Michael do not take this kind of initiative.''

While owning an architecturally significant house in Los Angeles has long carried a certain cachet, many potentially valuable works have fallen into disrepair or been greatly altered by renovations undertaken by a succession of owners.

''A number of them haven't been touched,'' Mr. Govan said. ''But many have been badly renovated and fundamentally changed. So I think it's kind of the last chance to try to preserve a group of these as a collection.''

Mr. Govan's idea is perhaps all the more remarkable because the Los Angeles County Museum does not have a department of architecture or design, unlike some older institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

But one of the museum's first acquisitions after Mr. Govan moved to Los Angeles, after 12 years as director of Dia, was a high-rise office interior by the Modernist architect John Lautner.

The Lautner office was formerly owned by James F. Goldstein, a real-estate investor who had Lautner design the space in 1987 for the 20th floor in a building in Century City, the commercial development on Santa Monica Boulevard in west Los Angeles.

In 2005 Mr. Goldstein was informed that his lease for the space would not be renewed, and a foundation devoted to saving Lautner works began seeking a patron who would preserve the space.

The Los Angeles County Museum initially turned down the proposal because museum officials felt it did not have the room to display the 800-square-foot office. But once Mr. Govan arrived, he seized the opportunity to acquire the work for an undisclosed amount and use it not as an exhibit but as an office -- specifically, his.

The museum now plans to install the office, which includes copper walls, a wood ceiling and a floor of black slate, as part of the renovation of the May Company building, a former department store that is on the western edge of the museum's 20-acre campus on Wilshire Boulevard. That renovation is planned for 2008 or 2009, and Mr. Govan said he hoped to use the space as his regular office, allowing visitors access to it as an exhibit on weekends.

Similarly, he said he hoped to use the houses that he collects not strictly as museum pieces but as housing for museum staff members, a perk that he said he believed would help the museum attract new curatorial talent.

''A lot of curators here have sought out interesting houses,'' he said. ''I thought, 'You could just have house tours on a regular basis to allow the public to have access to them.' ''

Although it does not have a design collection as such, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has hardly ignored the city's architectural history. In 1987 it organized a tour in the Silver Lake community of houses by Schindler, Neutra and other architects of the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s. In 1965 the museum published ''A Guide to Southern California Architecture,'' a book that, although out of print, is prized by real-estate agents here who specialize in architectural gems.

Various Los Angeles organizations have also sponsored tours of houses that were built as part of the Case Study program: two dozen prototypes of modern architecture, by Charles and Ray Eames, Neutra and Pierre Koenig, among others, that were commissioned by Art & Architecture magazine and built from 1945 to 1964.

Silver Lake, an area around a man-made reservoir in the hills east of Hollywood, is the site of dozens of houses that would be potential acquisitions for the museum. The 2200 block of Silver Lake Boulevard, for example, has no fewer than five houses by Neutra, who was encouraged to migrate from Vienna to Los Angeles by Schindler, who was himself born in Austria and had worked in Chicago and Los Angeles as a construction supervisor for Frank Lloyd Wright.

Schindler's work is also ubiquitous around Los Angeles. In 2001 the magazine ArtForum listed 32 significant works by Schindler, several in the parts of Los Angeles that visitors to the city rarely get to, including Torrance, Glendale, South Central and Woodland Hills.

Mr. Govan said that because the institution was a county museum, he did not intend to limit his collection to the area immediately around the museum's west Los Angeles location.

With Mr. Govan's plans already being discussed in architecture and real estate circles, the museum is certain to face some competition to acquire properties, including that ofMr. Gehry. His Santa Monica house, built in 1978 and remodeled in 1993, is known for its distinctive exteriors, which include corrugated metal, plywood and chain-link fencing.

It is also in the sights of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Mr. Gehry said, which has talked to him about its registering the house or acquiring it once he completes a new residence in nearby Venice, Calif.

''In the meantime,'' Mr. Gehry said, ''I'm living in it.''
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i drove by yesterday.

Much progress on the new museum buildings--they appear from the outside to be nearly done. They are very boring tho. Just beige stone boxes side by side about 60 or so feet tall.

The new entry pavilion is long and low and very low key.

Per bold banners around the site, the new compex and entry are scheduled to open Feb 2008.

Sorry no pix.

One of these days I'm gonna learn how to post!
 
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