The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is unveiling its new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion to the public this weekend with free entrance to the museum on Oct. 2 and 3, and entry into the latest component of LACMA’s multi-year transformation.
The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion is the largest purpose-built, naturally lit museum space in the world, featuring 45,000 square feet of gallery space. Located near the museum’s BP Grand Entrance, the pavilion was designed by architect Renzo Piano, who also designed the nearby Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) on the LACMA campus. Piano was joined by Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 3rd District; LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg director Michael Govan; and Lynda and Stewart Resnick on Sept. 23 for a preview of the pavilion. The Resnicks donated $45 million as the lead donation for the project, and have pledged a gift of $10 million in art that will be displayed inside the new structure. Lynda Resnick has been a LACMA trustee since 1992, and is currently the vice chair of the museum’s Board of Trustees and chair of the Acquisitions Committee.
“The county museum is the museum of the people, and what Michael [Govan] and his team have done is wonderful,” Lynda Resnick said. “I think art builds a bridge of understanding for the diverse cultures of our society, and LACMA provides a real service to Los Angeles in making it accessible. We love Los Angeles, and that is why we made this gift.”
The pavilion will open this weekend with three diverse exhibitions running concurrently. They include “Eye for the Sensual, selections from the Resnick Collection” featuring more than 100 paintings, sculptures and decorative arts pieces. The display reflects the Resnick’s interest in European art from the 16th to early 20th Century.
In addition, the pavilion will feature the exhibition, “Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico”, which includes massive stone heads and other sculptures produced by Mexico’s earliest civilizations; and “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress and Detail, 1700-1915”, a display of pieces from the museum’s recently acquired collection of European clothing and accessories.
Piano said he designed the new pavilion to be a gathering place for art lovers and the community, and added that using dozens of skylights provided a chance to feature the art in a naturally-lit setting that is unique among art museums around the world.
“The real idea was to provide the art with an unpretentious, tolerant space,” Piano said. “The idea of destroying the wall between art and architecture was part of Michael’s challenge. It’s a very simple building, it’s really a space for art. Light is excellent, and when you take the light from the north, which is diffused, it complements the art.”
Govan added that the pavilion is designed to create a sense of indoors and outdoors, and added that the “weather was the inspiration.”
“When you walk inside, you see more than an acre of open space. This building is the heart of our campus,” Govan said. “The idea is to establish this place as a gathering place for Los Angeles. The museum is a place for all of us to come together.”
The pavilion’s façade is constructed of pale travertine marble. It has a “saw-toothed” roof with skylights that allows the daylight to enter the galleries, but also allows light to illuminate out at night, providing a glow that can be seen from 6th Street and Fairfax Avenue to the rear of the museum campus.
The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion is one component of Phase II of LACMA’s transformation, which also includes the revitalization of the surrounding park at Fairfax Avenue and 6th Street with the Kelly and Robert Day Gardens. A restaurant, also designed by Piano, will be built near the pavilion in the BP Grand Entrance and is scheduled to open in January. The final component of Phase II will be the installation next fall of artist Michael Heizer’s piece, “Levitated Mass 2006-2009”, a boulder weighing 683,000 pounds that will be suspended on concrete rails enabling visitors to walk through carved-out earth underneath.
Numerous special events are planned throughout the free community weekend, including a special concert by Quetzal and artist workshops. Although the event is free, special tickets are required. LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. For information, call (323)933-857-6000, or visit www.lacma.org.
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