LACMA to announce its largest donation ever*

Thumbnail image for lacma-over-wilshire-zumthor.jpg
Peter Zumthor design for LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has summoned the media on Thursday morning to announce what the release calls the largest gift of art in the museums history. The gift, by a thus-far anonymous donor, is apparently tied to today's pledge by the county Board of Supervisors of $125 million for the upcoming museum makeover designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. That's the design that was recently revised to include a gallery bridging Wilshire Boulevard in order to avoid encroaching on the La Brea Tar Pits, which lie adjacent to (and under) the museum. LACMA director Michael Govan, speaking at the supervisors meeting, said the $600 million project would replace the original LACMA buildings and one added in 1986. "They are not worth saving," he told the Supes. Members of the Board of Supervisors are expected to attend Thursday's 10 a.m. media event.

* Morning update: The art donor is A. Jerrold Perenchio, the 83-year-old former chairman of Univision. LACMA planted the news as expected — the only question was who would get the scoop. They went with the LA Times, which interviewed Perenchio, Govan and others for today's paper. Jori Finkel followed up with a short post for the ArtsBeat blog in the New York Times. In the LAT, the former MCA talent agent explains why he would give his $500 million art collection to LACMA: "L.A. is my home, and I wanted to leave it to a museum here." The gift comes with strings: LACMA first has to find the money and build its expensive new building.

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