Late last month, Guess?-founding brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano announced they'd bought the beautiful Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire and planned to turn it into a private art museum. Boo! Lame! Let us in! It's possible that could happen, but seems unlikely, given what Maurice told the New York Times yesterday: "it will not be open to the public daily, which would require a sizable staff. Instead, he said, the museum might be open by appointment." Either way, wHY Architecture will renovate the building to hold the Marcianos' enormous collection ("about 1,000 works")--they'll start by converting the first floor into gallery spaces over the next year and a half; the second floor will host offices and a library (probably just spruced up versions of what's currently there). The brothers have also given some of the leftover Mason furniture they found in the temple to artists, "hoping they could use it in their work and so might one day return to the museum." And beyond just housing their personal collection, they say "the museum would also host exhibitions by local artists with the hope that they will design work especially for this space. And work space may be created for an artist in residence."
So how does the local art world feel about this new adventure in private-art-owning (in the past, big collectors tended to donate to museums)? Artist John Baldessari says he thinks it's "potentially great": "It might be a great place for young artists to get exposure. I hope that happens," but he worries that "these private institutions all have conditions on going into their spaces." Newly ex-head of MOCA Jeffrey Deitch says "I think this will become one of the most important spaces for contemporary art in the whole country," but a gallerist who works with the brothers thinks it's a little more up in the air: "I still don't think they know what the endgame is, and I find that very exciting about them."
· A Bigger Closet for Their Art [NYT]
· Guess? Brothers Turning Beautiful Masonic Temple on Wilshire Into Their Own Private Art Museum [Curbed LA]