Located on the Pacific Rim, LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of more than 142,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe. Committed to showcasing a multitude of art histories, LACMA exhibits and interprets works of art from new and unexpected points of view that are informed by the region’s rich cultural heritage and diverse population. LACMA’s spirit of experimentation is reflected in its work with artists, technologists, and thought leaders as well as in its regional, national, and global partnerships to share collections and programs, create pioneering initiatives, and engage new audiences.
LACMA has its roots in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, established in 1910 in Exposition Park. In 1961, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art became a separate, art-focused institution. LACMA opened its new Wilshire Boulevard location to the public in 1965,...with the permanent collection in the Ahmanson Building, special exhibitions in the Hammer Building, and the 600-seat Bing Theater for public programs.
In the ensuing decades, both the campus and the collection grew considerably. The Anderson Building (renamed the Art of the Americas building in 2007) opened in 1986 to house modern and contemporary art. The Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art opened in 1988 at the east end of campus. In 1994, the museum acquired the May Company department store building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, which is now home to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, slated to open in 2019.
Since 2007, the museum has doubled its exhibition program, audience, and its campus, and has operated a satellite gallery at Charles White Elementary School in MacArthur Park, where LACMA presents museum-caliber exhibitions and programs in partnership with the school and surrounding communities.
In recent years, LACMA has committed to expanding, upgrading, and unifying the museum’s 20-acre campus through the addition of new buildings, including the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) (2008) and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion (2010), as well as monumental public artworks and open-air gathering places for the community. Now, LACMA is focusing on replacing four aging buildings on the east campus with a new home for the permanent collection.
With the opening of BCAM (2008) and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion (2010), both designed by Renzo Piano, LACMA added 100,000 square feet of gallery space to the campus, more than doubling the museum’s exhibition space. Having first completed the expansion of the museum, LACMA is now focusing on replacing the four aging buildings on the east campus (the Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, and Hammer Buildings, as well as the Leo S. Bing Center) with a new home for the permanent collection that will breathe new life into 6,000 years of art.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor, this new building, named the David Geffen Galleries, is the long-anticipated culmination of over a decade of transformation.
The horizontal design of the David Geffen Galleries will place art from all areas of LACMA’s encyclopedic collection on the same level, so that no single culture, tradition, or era is given more stature than any other. This new building will enable a rotating series of exhibitions rather than a fixed presentation of the collection, offering visitors a multitude of avenues to explore our common humanity.
LACMA’s new building will complete a revitalized corridor of cultural institutions along Wilshire Boulevard that make up L.A.’s museum mile, including the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Petersen Automotive Museum, and the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.