The Resnick Pavilion, a.k.a. “The Grand Piano,” Officially Opens at LACMA
This weekend marks the official public opening of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s new Resnick Pavilion, which at 45,000 square feet is the largest purpose-built, naturally lit, open-plan museum space in the world.
Designed by Renzo Piano, built with a $45 million donation by L.A. philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick and referred to as “the grand Piano” by LACMA Director Michael Govan (I’d write his full title, which is CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, but it’s so exhausting … there, I’m just back from a nap), the limestone and glass-enclosed building opens with a triptych of exhibitions: Eye for the Sensual: Selections from the Resnick Collection; Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico; and Fashioning Fashion: Euroepan Dress in Detail, 1700-1915.
Why pieces from Eye for the Sensual—comprised of a portion of the Resnick’s private collection, replete with 18th and early 19th-century French decorative and fine art, including a famous portrait of Marie-Antoinette by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun—were not incorporated into Fashioning Fashion and vice versa, I do not know. But it’s a missed opportunity that would have yielded fresh perspectives. Imagine if, even to the slightest degree, curators would have combined aspects similar to the 2006 Anglomania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion exhibition at the MET, where 18th to 21st-century fashion was displayed in the 18th-century French Wrightsman’s rooms? Now there was a multi-layered blockbuster. Perhaps more on point, such integration (again, to whatever extent) would have helped to underscore the overall flow of the pavilion, and how its vastness might be used to show connectivity of theme and material.
Click for Christopher Hawthorne’s architectural review in the Los Angeles Times.
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