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BP Grand Entrance at LACMA looking not-quite-so-grand

May 18, 2010 |  5:32 pm

Lynda Benglis Odalisque 1969 Wally Skalij LAT2 As the epic environmental tragedy continues to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art finds itself in a somewhat delicate position. Three years ago a $25-million donation from BP capped Phase 1 of a three-part expansion and renovation campaign. Since 2002, BP had agreed to more than $125 million in state and regional legal settlements over pollution problems. Solar panels planned atop a new LACMA entry pavilion named for the British oil company were to signal BP's wish to be seen as an environmental innovator.

Art museums are often the beneficiaries of largess from corporations wishing to polish their sometimes less-than-gleaming image. (Cigarette, anyone?) Oops.

At LACMA, the BP Grand Entrance shifted the museum's primary entrance one-half block to the west. Originally planned to be named for benefactors Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the entrance was rechristened when plans were unveiled to build the Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, set to open in October.

LACMA's predicament is shared by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, which is about to open its BP Sea Otter Habitat. Click here to read The Times' story about the PR nightmare.

In the meantime, LACMA might want to think about commissioning a work of art that would be apt for the BP Grand Entrance. To start, I'd nominate sculptor Lynda Benglis. Pictured is her 1969 poured latex sculpture, "Odalisque," in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Other suggestions?

-- Christopher Knight (follow me on Twitter @KnightLAT)

Photos: Lynda Benglis, "Odalisque," 1969, credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times; Gulf oil slick on May 6, credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times 

La-oil-spill.01 Related:

Gulf oil spill

LACMA given $25-million gift

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