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LACMA's Huge Peter Zumthor Redesign is Actually Moving

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Funds are being raised and reviews are being conducted for the museum's dramatic reimagining

LACMA just took a huge step forward in its quest to make over both its entire museum campus and a significant chunk of the Miracle Mile. By 2023, LACMA hopes to have completed a Peter Zumthor-designed megaproject that would replace aging galleries with a swooping modern megastructure crossing over Wilshire Boulevard. Four of LACMA's seven buildings would be replaced by the 400,000-square-foot, monolithic gallery space. The museum plans to begin construction in 2018, but first there's the matter of raising $600 million in funding.

According to the LA Times, two donors have come through big on that, with what combined amounts to the single largest private donation that LACMA has ever received. This week the museum announced that art collector Elaine Wynn and former Univision Chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio pledged a combined $75 million to the Zumthor project.

Wynn put up $50 million and Perenchio donated $25 million, but Perenchio's contributions amount to much more than that. It was his 2014 decision to bequeath his entire, $500-million private art collection to LACMA upon his death that inspired Wynn to contribute to the museum project. However, more donors like her will have to come forward before LACMA can get its hands on that huge windfall of Perenchio's art. According to the stipulations of his will, the museum only gets the collection if it can successfully complete the Zumthor project.

Luckily for the museum, these new donations signal momentum for their massive undertaking. Along with the $125 million LACMA snagged from the LA County Board of Supervisors, the two donations put LACMA's total funding for the project at $275 million. That's just $25 million shy of the halfway point in their funding efforts. Museum officials are upbeat about their chances—LACMA head Michael Govan tells the LA Times the new donations give him new confidence in the project and he is "positive" the remaining funds can be raised.

Meanwhile, on the construction front, the Zumthor design plans will go through a state-mandated environmental impact report process this summer. Zumthor has been busy for the past few years modifying the design—he's already changed the color, streamlined the swoopy original design, and rerouted the blob-like museum away from the La Brea Tar Pits, extending it instead across Wilshire Boulevard.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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