Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Major Corporate Donation To LACMA?

That's what the New York Times website says tonight. Nothing yet from LA Times.

March 6, 2007
Big Corporate Gift Expected for Los Angeles County Museum of Art

LOS ANGELES, March 5 — The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is expected to announce a corporate gift of more than $10 million on Tuesday that it will use to finance a building project, a person close to the museum said yesterday.

The gift, for new exhibition space, arrives as the museum pursues a sweeping renovation of its 20-acre campus, and its director, Michael Govan, aggressively seeks to step up fund-raising and transform the museum’s somewhat dowdy image.

The museum, on Wilshire Boulevard in Hancock Park, next to La Brea Tar Pits, has been working since 2004 with the Italian architect Renzo Piano on the renovation plan.

The first phase includes the construction of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which is already under way and is being paid for by a $60 million gift from the philanthropist Eli Broad. That building, along with a new grand entrance pavilion and an underground parking garage, is expected to open in about a year.

Allison Agsten, a spokeswoman for the museum, declined to comment on any potential announcement. But the person close to the museum, who declined to be identified because the institution had not authorized disclosure of the gift, said the donation was expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars. That the gift is from a corporation is likely to stir some excitement in the art world, given recent cutbacks in companies’ contributions to nonprofit institutions.

As part of his attempt to raise the museum’s profile Mr. Govan has helped recruit several new members of its board, including some business figures. Among those named to the board in recent months are Terry Semel, the chief executive of Yahoo; David Bohnett, a technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist; Chris DeWolfe, the co-founder and chief executive of MySpace.com; and Anthony N. Pritzker, a co-founder of the Pritzker Group, an investment firm, and part of the family that founded the Hyatt hotel chain.

The museum has been trying to raise money to finance the second and third phases of its rebuilding plan, which are to include a renovation of a building that formerly housed the May Company department store on the western edge of the museum campus. That building will include exhibition space and a children’s gallery, a restaurant, bookstore and administrative offices.

In an interview last week Mr. Govan said the later phases of the project would include “a new exhibition facility” on the west side of the campus, near the May Company building.

Last month he described plans for a giant moving sculpture at the museum’s new entrance: a 161-foot-tall sculpture by Jeff Koons that is essentially a working 1940s locomotive suspended from a crane.

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