Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

Posts Tagged ‘rendering

Chapter 3 (Part 5): The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

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“I thought a museum was a concept that people already bought into about 200 years ago. They’re having us do as much work as we can hoping that we will give up. […] They hate us.” – George Lucas

Like the Fishers, filmmaker George Lucas wanted to build a museum in San Francisco’s Presidio. Lucas wanted to bring his Lucas Cultural Arts Museum to Crissy Field – a beach-front portion of the Presidio National Park with killer views of the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the Bay. Lucas must be reading Eli Broad’s museum-building playbook: After Lucas’s proposal was rejected he threatened to take his museum and collection to another city. Will billionaire Lucas get what he wants by leveraging cities against one another? Remember those sweet deals Santa Monica and Beverly Hills offered Eli Broad when he was “considering” them instead of Downtown for his museum? We know how that turned out.

Lucas with Rockwell's "Shadow Artist."

Lucas with Rockwell’s “Shadow Artist.”

Lucas was making plans for his museum in 2009, but didn’t make a formal proposal until the Presidio Trust, which oversees and maintains the Presidio, sent out an RFP for the Crissy Field location. By March of 2013 16 proposals had been submitted, and by September those had been narrowed to three including Lucas’s museum. Lucas’s proposal was for a new Beaux-Arts-style museum to house his collections of illustration (lot of Norman Rockwell) and film ephemera (heard of Star Wars?). Lucas was willing to spend $700million: $300M for construction and $400M to endow it–he was good for it too, having sold the Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for $4.05 BILLION dollars… Read the rest of this entry »

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Chapter 2 (Part 2): The Race for The Broad – A Tale of Three Cities

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“I think what Santa Monica has to offer is an incredible audience, a prime location and willingness to work with the Broads.”[i] – Kevin McKeown, Santa Monica City Councilman

Within just a few months of BCAM’s opening at LACMA, rumors began to circulate that Eli Broad had been less than forthcoming about his true intentions.  Contrary to his initial denial of it, at the end of 2008 local newspapers began reporting Broad intended to build a new museum for his collections in Beverly Hills.[ii]  The City of Beverly Hills quickly identified a prominent parcel of land at the intersections of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards for the project. An architectural competition was announced, a short list determined (Thom Mayne, Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Rafael Viñoly and Christian Portzamparc), and schematic renderings of the site plan were even published. [iii] If this speedy development seemed too good to be true, it’s because it was.

Mass Modeling Rendering for Beverly Hills Site by Gensler.

Mass Modeling Rendering for Beverly Hills Site by Gensler.

By the end of 2009, Broad announced that there were actually multiple cities vying for his collections and a new museum building to house them. Beverly Hills, previously unchallenged was suddenly competing with the City of Santa Monica, and Broad’s foundation announced there was also a third, unnamed city in the running.[iv]  This of course turned out to be the City of Los Angeles.  Broad said he wasn’t, “trying to play the two [three] municipalities against each other […] he hope[d] that by talking to several different cities he c[ould] accelerate the process of building.”[v]  But play them against each other he did, for six months, trying to secure the best deal.

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Chapter 2 (Part 1): The Grand Avenue Project, Arrested (Re)Development

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Eli can be a real pain in the ass.”[i] – Frank Gehry, architect, Walt Disney Concert Hall

Grand Avenue framed by Disney Concert Hall.

Grand Avenue framed by Disney Concert Hall.

Eli Broad’s dealings with MOCA coincided and aligned to renewed, old interests in downtown Los Angeles. Broad served as chairman of the Grand Avenue Committee, an advisory body formed in 2000, responsible for planning and overseeing a massive $3 billion redevelopment plan for an area along Grand Avenue and Bunker Hill originally estimated to be completed in 2009.

In the previous decade, Broad had been instrumental in the realization of Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The widely recognized structure was designed by Frank Gehry in his now iconic style of undulating silver forms. Lillian Disney (wife of Walt) initiated the concert hall project in 1987, with an initial gift of $50 million.[ii]  It would take 16 years and another $224 million to complete the project.  The County of Los Angeles provided the land and $116 million in funding toward a six-level subterranean parking garage beneath Gehry’s building.   By the mid 1990’s, after years of sagging economy, the garage was the only complete portion of the project—capped with a  vacant slab of concrete.[iii] Enter Eli Broad and his fundraising partner-in-crime, Mayor Richard Riordan.  Both men personally contributed $5 million to revive the building campaign, and Broad helmed the fundraising effort and raised an additional $120 million dollars from private and corporate contributors in three years.[iv] Walt Disney Concert Hall finally opened in 2003.

Another Broad beneficiary located on Grand Avenue is Central Los Angeles Area High School #9, now called the Ramon C. Corteines School of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2001, Broad had encouraged school officials to build an architectural statement and create a school focused on visual and performing arts education, rather than the originally planned, modestly-priced, $87 million campus.[v]  Broad initially agreed to contribute to the project, but later threatened to withhold funding if the school did not operate as a charter high school as he saw fit.[vi]  The campus welcomed its first class in 2009 with a price tag of roughly $230 million.  Broad’s mission with the High School was accomplished: another architectural monument and another piece of Grand Avenue complete.

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Introduction (Part 1): Public-Private Development Partnerships

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It may seem unconventional to begin a thesis in arts administration by discussing a football stadium.  This thesis is an exploration of urban planning in Los Angeles involving large-scale, public-private development. In the following chapters, I document how philanthropist Eli Broad’s under-construction contemporary art museum, The Broad, is being utilized to stimulate further redevelopment of an area of downtown Los Angeles called Bunker Hill.  The Broad museum and the larger, coinciding Grand Avenue Project has engendered some conversation about the investment associated with public-private development projects, and the resulting public and private benefits.  However, the amount of dialogue about investment and return benefit involved with the Broad museum and Grand Avenue is minimal in comparison to another large-scale, public-private development proposal less than two miles away: Farmer’s Field.  The proposed downtown National Football League stadium has garnered substantial, well-publicized and in-depth political, social, and economic debate about investments and benefits. For this reason, I believe reflecting on some of the lively discussions circulating abound Farmer’s Field can be useful in introducing similar questions and concerns, which may not have been addressed or considered, or worse ignored, in the planning process of The Broad museum.

FIELD OF SCHEMES? – PUBLIC-PRIVATE INVESTMENT & BENEFIT

“We’ve built more arenas and stadiums than anyone in the world, ever–including the Romans!”[i]
– Tim Leiweke, President and C.E.O., Anschutz Entertainment Group

It is a plotline ripped from the popular television show Entourage (season 7 to be specific).  Big-time developer Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) wants to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles.  AEG’s tactic to lure a franchise to the city is to build a brand new 1.3 billion stadium in downtown. The new stadium, which AEG has already sold naming rights to, will be called Farmers Field, after the insurance company.  AEG plans to squeeze the 72,000-seat stadium into the already dense LA Live—an entertainment and sports cluster, which AEG has spent more than a decade developing between the Figueroa corridor and the 110 Freeway.  LA Live includes the Staples Center (home to both the Lakers and Clippers NBA franchises), Nokia Theaters, Regal Cinemas, JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton, and Grammy Museum.  AEG has appealed for both public and government support of the project by communicating its record of success and by touting a lengthy list of impressive economic benefits, which AEG claims, the city would receive should the NFL return:  tens of thousands of jobs, construction of nearby hotels, a revived Convention Center, and hundreds of millions of dollars in increased economic activity.[ii]  The economic influence seems incalculable and the project non-negotiable.

Does (downtown) Los Angeles need an NFL stadium?

Does (downtown) Los Angeles need an NFL stadium?

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King Abdulaziz Center for Knowledge and Culture

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AAM Conference Expo

Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development.  Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series.  Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums.  In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed.  Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel).  I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof.  You can read the whole story here.

Starchitecture face-off!

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