The Demolition of LACMA: Art Sacrificed to Architecture | by Joseph Giovannini

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Demolition continuing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, May 18, 2020

There are two demolitions going on at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest encyclopedic museum west of the Mississippi, with collections spanning many historical periods and cultures. Over the last several months, the museum has razed three of the four structures on the East Campus, the original core of the institution—themselves only sixty years old—and excavators are now polishing off the last and largest, the Ahmanson Building. The East Campus will soon be a bowl of dust.

The second is the demolition of the museum’s very mission. LACMA’s director, Michael Govan, has officiated over an aggressive proposal that will dismantle and relegate to storage collections that for decades have distinguished the museum and established its standing. Govan’s plan is at once grandiose and diminishing—and, above

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