Monday, September 20, 2021

An Egalitarian Museum: Peter Zumthor Remaking Los Angles's LACMA

Artist's rendering of the new LACMA designed by Atelier Peter Zumthor (set to open 2024). Fly-through video by Andrei Juradowitch © 2021. http://andreiucop.com/

THE NEW YORKER published a thoughtful article on Peter Zumthor's newly (and controversially) designed LACMA in October 2020. The article touches on several nuances of the project: local and municipal politic, meaning of art within cultural milieu and institutional structures -- all in the context of conversations with Zumthor in his hermitage in Haldenstein, Switzerland. Read the full article, here.

Below is the latest release from LACMA:

New galleries. More art. For all of Los Angeles.
A new way to encounter the world’s cultures—past, present, and future.

Over the last two decades, LACMA has sought to find new ways to embrace all the communities of Los Angeles County and honor all the world’s artistic traditions. Our goal is to make the experience of our collection richer and more accessible than ever before, while ensuring that the museum can be a place of reflection, expression, and empathy for everyone.

Interior gallery, exhibition level, Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

These years of evolution and expansion are culminating with the addition of the David Geffen Galleries, a magnificent new building for the permanent collection designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor. With over $670 million raised out of a $750 million goal, and construction well underway, we are in the final stages of bringing this next evolution of LACMA to all of Los Angeles.

View north across Wilshire Boulevard, Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

An exciting aspect of LACMA’s new building is that it is Peter Zumthor’s first project in the United States. One of the world’s most respected architects, Zumthor is known for projects including the Therme Vals, Switzerland (1996); the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (1997); Kolumba Art Museum, Cologne (2007); and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London (2011). 

A hallmark of Zumthor’s work is that no two buildings are the same; it is often noted that he has no single style. Several characteristics, however, are common to each project. First is the attention to the site, and another is the use of specific materials—wood, concrete, brick, or stone. Most prized of all is Zumthor’s skillful choreography of light and shadow in each of his buildings.

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