Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

The demise was probably inevitable, foretold by an Ed Ruscha painting. William Pereira’s LACMA opened in 1962, but the buildings were never great. Its corporate modernism was inward‑looking, and its flourishes didn’t age well. Later additions by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (1986) and Renzo Piano (2008, 2010) atomised the campus, but there was always something pleasant about sitting in the plaza and watching museum‑goers drift from building to building – a piece of pedestrian urbanism in a town long blasted for not having any. (It does.) So, when the end did come under the quiet of pandemic lockdowns, it hurt. Maybe demolition would not have been so wretched if the replacement by Zumthor didn’t seem so wrong‑headed. Three years on, an expensive, environmentally tone‑deaf museum rises. Concrete formwork currently spans Wilshire Boulevard. Overpass comparisons aren’t hyperbole. What I can’t get over are the claims by director Michael Govan that this hulking ‘single‑storey’ museum on pedestals is somehow more inviting to Angelenos than marble pavilions. (It’s not.)