Officials at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on August 22 revealed that the museum has raised more than the $750 million it needed to build its planned David Geffen Galleries. Private donors accounted for 80 percent of the funding, with the remaining 20 percent coming from Los Angeles County. The museum in March had announced that the project was 98 percent funded, with $736 million already in the till at that time. Among the donors to the controversial project were its namesake, David Geffen, who ponied up $150 million; collector and resorts magnate Elaine Wynn and the foundation of the late oil baron W. M. Keck, who each contributed about $50 million; and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, who gave $20 million or more.
“We have reached this milestone thanks to the generosity and hard work of so many people,” Michael Govan, the museum’s director and CEO, said in a statement. “We offer heartfelt thanks to all those who propelled us to this achievement—from our trustees to first-time donors—and to LACMA’s countless supporters from every part of Los Angeles. The David Geffen Galleries will not only be a sublime new home for LACMA’s collections, but a testament to a remarkable wellspring of civic pride and an incredible gift to Los Angeles.”
LACMA also announced that the structure, which spans Wilshire Boulevard, is over 65 percent complete. Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and intended to house the museum’s permanent collection, the building is expected to be complete by late next year. Concerns grew after the project was scaled back in 2019 in the wake of an environmental impact report, with Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight pointing to the revamped design’s cost, limitations, and inability to contain an encyclopedic collection. Govan in a competing op-ed in the same publication described the new structure as “visionary” and “big enough.” The finished structure will introduce 3.5 acres of new outdoor space for public use.