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LACMA Goes Pop!


[Renzo Piano's sketch of the LACMA addition]

The LA Times' resident architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes on the recent changes to LACMA's expansion plans and tries to make sense of it all. Hawthorne fills us in not just on design changes (gardens by Robert Irwin! Dangling trains by Jeff Koons!) but also lets us know just how good Michael Govan is at fundraising. The man is a money-generating machine. First came the $25 million gift from BP for the entryway (raised with Eli Broad's help), then came another $25 million gift from Lynda and Stewart Resnick. Govan then took that donation, which had been earmarked for the pavilion and is redirecting it towards "the construction of a new single-story gallery building by Piano directly behind BCAM." That's the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, the museum-within-a-museum the Broads have funded when Eli's not busy rebuilding Grand Ave or bidding on Tribune.

For those of you too busy to read Hawthorne's entire article, allow us to summarize:

· Lots of pop references: the Irwin garden, the Koons sculpture, red elevators and lots of color.
· Everybody loves Piano. He's just so damn nice.

· The architectural plans veers dangerously close to "New York cliches about California culture." Please don't let us become a caricature of ourselves. Entourage already does that for us.
Don't get too comfortable, Govan. You may have raised $50 million, brought in world-class architects and artists, and seem to be effortlessly navigating a mess of project but Hawthorne reminds us LACMA still needs to figure out what to do with all those disparate buildings to the east. Until Govan figures that out, Hawthorne remains intractable. You had us, however, with the dangling train. And as a sidenote: Piano's partner for the Pompidou Center in Paris, where he first exulted in the use of color in museum design, Richard Rogers, won the Pritzker today.
· Resiliency is built into LACMA's redesign [LA Times]
· Renzo Piano's LACMA Now With Less Glass [Previously on Curbed LA]
· Now That's Art! Dangle My Train [Previously on Curbed LA]