David Geffen Pledges a Whopping $150 Million for New Building at LACMA

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David Geffen has pledged $150 million to build a new building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest gift on record toward the construction of an American museum, it was reported Wednesday.

Geffen's pledge puts LACMA's fundraising total at $450 million, bringing it closer to the goal of $650 million needed to break ground on a modernist Peter Zumthor building. It is considered one of the most highly anticipated pieces of architecture in the city since Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Zumthor building will be named the David Geffen Galleries. It's design evolution took the project from something reminiscent of the nearby La Brea Tar Pits to a concrete structure that bridges Wilshire Boulevard. 

"There is no great city without a great museum," Geffen told The Times by phone from his Beverly Hills home. "Los Angeles is the city of the future, and with the involvement of those who support art and architecture here, the creation of this building is a very important event."

The Geffen gift is the largest single cash gift from an individual in LACMA's history. Fundraising for the project began about three years ago. 

Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas called the Geffen gift a "game-changer" for the museum and "an inspiring example of how private philanthropists can partner with public institutions to expand architectural and artistic horizons for everyone."

Although philanthropist Eli Broad, filmmaker George Lucas and Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton have spent or pledged as much or more than Geffen, their museums were designed specifically to house their personal art collections, according to The Times.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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