An op-ed piece by architecture writer Greg Goldin in this morning's LA Times protests the plan by Metro to raze the Wilshire Boulevard buildings that house the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and nearby galleries in order to stage construction of the Purple Line stop at Fairfax Avenue. Not that anyone will really want to be in that neighborhood during eight years of subway construction — just ask anyone in Hollywood who remembers the Red Line mess. But that doesn't mean the museum or the galleries are happy about being forced to go.
Under California law, Metro does not have to assess the impacts on cultural institutions less than 50 years old. This provision has allowed political leaders, from the mayor to the Board of Supervisors to the MTA board, to dodge what ought to be a spirited debate about the sacrifice that small, young arts spaces are being forced to make.
The subway builders insist there is no option. They say you cannot tunnel beneath the boulevard nor build the station box without an acre-plus of "staging ground," and thus the galleries and museum must be flattened. The land will be used to receive gassy soils and possible fossil finds and to park subway construction vehicles, equipment and office trailers.
But why is the space where these tiny arts institutions sit the only option?
The galleries that Goldin is concerned about are the Edward Cella Art+Architecture and Steve Turner Contemporary spaces. Goldin is co-curator of an upcoming show, "Never Built: Los Angeles," that will be at the A+D museum.