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County Approves Millions for New LACMA Building; Actors Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton Rally Support

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he L.A. County supervisors on Tuesday took a few steps further in support of a $650-million redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, despite reservations over the project's constantly morphing look and design.

The board unanimously approved the release of a final Environmental Impact Report for the project, and subsequently released $117.5 million in funds toward the proposed new exhibition space on the Wilshire Boulevard campus of LACMA.

The somewhat controversial project would become a hallmark of director Michael Govan's tenure at the L.A. institution, and again radically reshape the physical appearance of the public art collection. The design has already been updated multiple times.

Peter Zumthor's latest version of LACMA (left) looks awfully familiar pic.twitter.com/kCYTlSS8Ll

— Justin Davidson (@JDavidsonNYC) March 27, 2019

One section of the new proposed design would hover over Wilshire, prompting some needling on Twitter.

"Where once we had sci-fi, now we have an agreeable cream-colored concrete structure that in at least one schematic (the northward-facing view from Wilshire) bears the profile of a small-city airport terminal," remarked L.A. Times culture writer Carolina Miranda.

Nonetheless, a couple of bold-face names showed up during the public comment period to voice support for the project.

Actor and Oscar nominee Brad Pitt and Oscar winner actor Diane Keaton appeared to join a crowd of supporters speaking on behalf of LACMA’s proposed new building, which has come under criticism for its compact design. Critics argue it would shrink the museum's permanent gallery space.

Most of the building's price tag had been raised already through private donors. Only 10 percent of the total is expected to come from tax dollars.

Pitt and Keaton spoke for about a minute each, both gleaming in their support of the new project and its proposed design by Peter Zumthor. Pitt compared the moment the Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry was approved. Keaton thanked the sups "in advance" for approving the project.

A rendering of the proposed new LACMA building. Credit: Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner.

There were a few voices in the public comment against the project, with one speaker calling it a “rush to mediocrity.” Most public criticism of the new building is aimed at Zumthor’s design and director Michael Govan’s selection of Zumthor and his future vision of a smaller LACMA. The building will straddle Wilshire Boulevard like a pedestrian bridge.

But most people in the crowd spoke in favor of the project. The supervisors voted as one to approve the EIR and funds instead of the usual roll call.

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