Photo by John Schreiber.

Entertainment executive and philanthropist David Geffen has pledged $150 million to build a new building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest single cash gift from an individual in the museum’s history, LACMA announced Wednesday.

“This historic commitment propels LACMA’s two-decade expansion and rebuilding project forward,” said LACMA CEO Michael Govan. “David Geffen is one of Los Angeles’s, and our nation’s, most generous philanthropists.”

Geffen抯 pledge raises LACMA抯 fundraising total to $450 million of the $650 million needed to break ground on a modernist Peter Zumthor building, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, is arguably the most anticipated new piece of architecture in L.A. since Frank Gehry抯 Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003.

The Zumthor building will be named the David Geffen Galleries and replace four of the museum’s seven buildings, according to the LACMA statement.

“I am excited to see the positive effects this new building will have on Los Angeles’s art and architectural communities,” Geffen said. “This innovative addition to the LACMA campus will ensure ongoing and expanded access to their permanent collection. LACMA will be able to touch millions of lives and create an even healthier and more vibrant community for everyone.”

The Geffen gift comes after more than three years of relentless fundraising spearheaded by museum Director Michael Govan,.

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.”

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti added that “David Geffen’s monumental gift to LACMA will live as an example of how philanthropy can transform institutions and touch people across generations.”

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *