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Putting the cart before the horse on the new LACMA?

To the editor: Tyler Green raises important issues relating to the future of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ("Will L.A. County give its art the space it's due?," op-ed, May 2)

The museum is starting with architectural conclusions before asking the right programmatic questions. What is LACMA's vision for a 21st century museum, and how will the experience of art relate to that vision and belong to Los Angeles?

At the moment, there is a premature emphasis on the design of a new building without an adequate exploration of what we want the museum to become. It is in the becoming of something else that significant architecture is born, and it begins with questions about every aspect the program, including the received wisdom of what a museum is supposed to be. Once we know what we want, we can evaluate the adequacy of shapes to embody that vision.

An exploration of alternate futures for LACMA is the surest way to justify the formidable effort ahead.

Richard Weinstein, Santa Monica

The writer is the former dean of the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA.

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