Ed. note: It is a sad time as LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, by dribs and drabs, closes down galleries — beloved spaces like the one that housed the museum’s fabled German Expressionist collection and also that for Pop Art. The art goes into storage and the walls and ceilings will meet the wrecking ball. A new mid-century modern-inspired facility will rise from the ashes. This past Sunday was the final Sunday-evening classical music concert at the Bing Auditorium, a series that is said to be relocating, although the website comes up dry.
One LACMA adherent, Shannon Kelley, a friend of arts·meme, took the occasion to express what the cozy and familiar County Museum has meant in his life in Los Angeles. Writes Shannon:
So… farewell LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This institution has been a great home for the mind and spirit, serving me amply for 30 years; more than half of the relatively young museum’s 57 years, and 54 years at its Wilshire Boulevard complex.
Soon to invite the (figurative) wrecking-ball, LACMA anticipates a new and curiously, smaller museum than the 1965 core campus, projected to open by 2024. (Some structures … the newest ones and the thrilling 1988 Japanese pavilion will linger on.)
Just said goodbye to the museum’s Bing Theater (where once I saw Fay Wray present “King Kong”) at its last-ever concert yesterday afternoon. Most collections are now boxed-up, and galleries shuttered forever. It’ll be five years again before I see my favorite painting; Rembrandt’s 1630 “Raising of Lazarus.”
Here’s hoping the bulk of LACMA’s fabulous Islamic, Indian, multi-century European, and other dazzling collections survive deaccessioning and the museum’s recent tilt toward the contemporary.
Make no mistake: it’s a temple that is coming down!