The new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA is well worth a visit these days. In addition to seeing the powerful James Turrell exhibit (more on that another day), the show “The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA” is a fascinating look at the geographic history of the property as well as the proposed reinvisioning of the entire LACMA campus.
The foreground of the exhibit is chock-full of old photographs of the La Brea oil fields and aerial views of the area surrounding what is now Hancock Park and the LACMA campus. In this series of old black and white prints, it is astounding to see the Wilshire/Fairfax intersection in the early 1920’s as barren wind-swept fields with dirt roads, and a mere eight years later the area filled in completely with the two story homes and concrete streets of what we now know as our neighborhood. It’s a stunning visualization of the quick development of the Mid-City area in just a few short years.
Step deeper into the airy Resnick Pavilion and you’ll find architect Peter Zumthor’s large architectural model for the single building that would replace four of the current galleries with a large amorphous structure, oozing over the landscape just as the hot bubbling tar pits ooze below into soft-edged pools.
Some may find the new vision a shocking diversion from the right-angled structures that dominate the campus now. Others don’t want to lose the history of the Ahmanson, Hammer, Bing and Art of the Americas buildings as they show the evolution of the campus through the last few decades. But for others, the lure of a new modern structure making the campus more cohesive and groundbreaking is a thrill.
Stop in at the LACMA exhibit and decide for yourself. Let us know what you feel about the proposed Zumthor building in our Comments section below.
Larchmont Buzz: LACMA Redesign