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Private Masonic Temple Museum Set to Open in Early 2017

The brothers who founded Guess? have found a curator and may occasionally open the place to the public

It's been all quiet on the Masonic front down at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard for a couple years. The Windsor Square building, the work of noted architectural designer and artist Millard Sheets, was purchased by the brothers who founded Guess?, Maurice and Paul Marciano, in July 2013. Their plan was to turn the 1961 building into a private museum that would house their massive personal art collections and maybe, occasionally, be open to the public.

In 2014, we got a look at the super-minimal interiors that architectural firm wHY planned for the structure. Now ArtNews hears that a curator, former MOCA curator Philipp Kaiser, has been chosen to pick out pieces from the Marcianos' collection for the inaugural show at the museum; a publicist working with the museum says that it will probably open in early 2017. (There was some initial disagreement on this, with the curator saying one thing and the direction of the Marcianos' foundation saying another thing, but that seems to be the latest word.)

The museum is still under renovation, but information from publicists indicates that it will be finished around September, far in advance of the museum's anticipated opening. At 100,000 square feet, the Masonic temple is "huge, like twice as big as MOCA," curator Philipp Kaiser tells AN. Previous renderings of the museum showed a main gallery taking over the space previously occupied by a 3,000-seat auditorium, removing the room's mezzanine level and taking out the sloping floor. The resulting space would be an approximately two-story open space for art displays.