LACMA’s planned signature sculpture by Jeff Koons has become a bit of a football. Bloomberg ran a story recently that claimed the sculpture was imperiled by the museum’s endowment losses. At the time, museum officials claimed the work was always slated to be funded by donors. Now, in the Los Angeles Business Journal, there’s this story both re-affirming the project and casting doubt on its merit:
“This will be a huge effort. The museum is committed to realizing this artist’s vision,” said museum President Melody Kanschat. “It will be a real bell tower for LACMA, providing a very dramatic statement.”
The museum needs to raise at least $23 million more for the project to proceed, no simple feat in a deep recession. Kanschat didn’t know when that may happen, but she said that fundraising had quietly begun.
Koons also said that he remains committed to the project and is ready to start casting the locomotive’s front end. But he acknowledged that the recession would probably slow completion until 2014, about two years later than planned. “(The delay) is quite reasonable given the economic times that we’re in,” said Koons in a telephone interview last week from his New York studio. “We’re really at the point of going into construction.”
Feasibility studies had been funded by a $2m grant from the Annenberg foundation. But since then, the foundation seems to have had a change of heart:
Annenberg Chairwoman and Chief Executive Wallis Annenberg apparently has soured on the idea, saying in an October profile in Vanity Fair magazine that […] “I personally think Los Angeles deserves a much finer icon than a train hanging by a crane,” she was quoted as saying.
Other LA activists remind the museum of the flap created by the closing of the museum’s film program:
“Regardless of its aesthetic merit, I think it’s the wrong project, at the wrong place, at the wrong time,” said Debra Levine, a freelance arts journalist who co-founded Save Film at LACMA, a campaign to convince the museum to restore its long-running film program. “It’s crazy to put that kind of money into one project when multiple projects could be funded,” she continued. “If they think they got an earful on the canceling of the film program, they better buckle their seatbelts for how people are going to get crazy if they put that train up there.”
Held Up (Los Angeles Business Journal)