This is the "About LACMA" page of the "LACMA" guide.
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Created for the Museum Series, sponsored by Visions and Voices, October 30, 2009.
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2009 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

About LACMA Print Page


LACMA is located on Wilshire Boulevard, between Fairfax and Curson.

The museum's URL is



The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States, and contains over 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present.  The museum's collections encompass the geographic world and virtually the entire history of art. Among the museum’s special strengths are its holdings of Asian art, housed in part in the Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art; Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and José Clemente Orozco; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.

Today, LACMA occupies a seven-building complex located on twenty acres in the heart of Los Angeles, at Wilshire and Fairfax. The campus is undergoing a ten-year expansion and renovation known as the Transformation by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The first phase of the project opened in early 2008, introducing an open-air pavilion called the BP Grand Entrance as well as the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, featuring 60,000 square feet of exhibition space on three floors. BCAM's inaugural installation includes expansive spaces devoted to the art of Richard Serra, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Chris Burden, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and many more.

A Bit of History

The museum was established in 1910 as part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art. The cornerstone was laid in Exposition Park near the University of Southern California. The museum opened without an art collection nor the means to acquire one. Instead, art was loaned to the museum for its inauguration.

In the 1940s-1950s the museum collection grew dramatically, increasing its holdings of European, American, and Egyptian art, large through gifts of William Randolph Hearst.

In 1965, the museum opened at its current location on Wilshire Boulevard.  It is the largest new museum to be built in the United States after the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The permanent collection was housed in the Ahmanson Building, special exhibitions were presented in the Hammer Building, and the Bing Theater provided seating for audiences of 600 people.

The Japanese Pavilion was designed by Bruce Goff opened in 1988. The museum continued expanding, purchasing the May Co building in 1994.  In 2004
LACMA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved plans to dramatically transform the museum campus with the addition of exhibition galleries, public spaces, gardens, and a new building devoted to contemporary art, and selected architect Renzo Piano to oversee the expansion.  The first part of the expansion project, BCAM, opened in 2008.

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