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Entertainment & Arts

LACMA opposition group vows to keep fighting the museum’s Zumthor plan

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Peter Zumthor’s newest design for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
(Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner)

As the Los Angeles County Museum of Art tries to finish fundraising for its new Peter Zumthor-designed building and aims for an early 2020 groundbreaking, opponents haven’t given up their fight.

About a dozen foes of the Zumthor plan gathered Sunday in a downtown L.A. loft to discuss next steps. The meeting was organized by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, who co-own the local history- and culture-focused tourism company Esotouric.

“The group members all feel that public input has been discounted and curtailed, and they’re seeking to express the public voice, in the public interest,” Schave said, reading a statement in response to The Times’ questions about the recent meeting. The discussion, he said, centered on “how to go back to the drawing table for a better, more reasonable architectural solution.”

The group is primarily concerned about the latest design’s 10% reduction in size and museum director Michael Govan’s plan to disburse objects from the permanent collection to future satellite exhibition spaces in South Los Angeles and elsewhere.

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“We’re trying to understand how to get more feedback to the county of Los Angeles,” Schave said. “They haven’t shown floor plans yet, so I don’t believe everything is done.”

LACMA said that communicating with community members has been a priority.

“All throughout the public process of the EIR [environmental impact report], which began in 2016, the museum has met with scores of local neighbors and institutions, as well as community organizations to address questions and listen to their feedback,” a representative said. “This ongoing dialogue has resulted in many positive outcomes that are incorporated into the new design.”

On April 9, the county Board of Supervisors approved the $650-million project’s environmental impact report and the demolition of four existing buildings and released $117.5 million toward construction. On May 13, Cooper launched a LACMA Lovers League petition on change.org, urging the supervisors to reconsider.

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In certifying the EIR, supervisors “ignored serious recent criticism … and hundreds of public comments running 83% against the project,” the petition said.

Schave and Cooper, along with architectural historian Alan Hess, participated in a two-day symposium on preservation at the museum Friday and Saturday.

“One of the reasons we had this event was in response to Richard, Kim and Alan,” a LACMA representative said. “We’ve had meetings with them, and this was one of the ways we thought we could create a positive dialogue on the topic of preservation.”


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