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LACMA previews new modern art exhibit

January 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A dazzling new exhibit of modern art is about to go on display for the first time at the L.A. County Museum of Art. LACMA previewed the exhibit Wednesday while still reacting to a surprising turn of events with billionaire art collector Eli Broad.Modern art galleries at LACMA reopen to the public Sunday showcasing the museum's latest acquisition -- the collection of painting, sculpture and drawing from the collection of Janice and Henri Lazaroff. The museum already had earlier modern work and more recent modern art. But the Lazaroff collection, with its Picassos and bronze sculpture from Alberto Giacometti, was a rare gift from the collectors.

"The Lazaroff collection is kind of the jewel, shall we say, within the 22,000 square feet of modern art that we're opening to the public in brand new galleries," said Stephanie Barron, the senior curator of modern art.

Meanwhile, work is at a fever pitch at the new building next door -- the $50 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum. Billionaire philanthropist and art collector Eli Broad stunned the art world Tuesday announcing he would loan - but not give - LACMA his foundation's art.

In a statement, he said his thinking had evolved, and he was concerned if the collections work would be often left in storage out of view.

We compared that decision to the Lazarof collection, which was mostly a gift (with a small undisclosed acquisition price), asking if it changed LACMA's relationship with Broad.

"I'm not sure we feel that this relationship with the museum has changed," said Barron. "This is what we've always thought, we were going to open the building with works that were lent to us from the Broad Foundation. So for us, that really hasn't changed."

The Broad collection will still go on display and the senior curator said the public doesn't read labels to see who owns something.


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