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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

Couple to give $45-million for new LACMA pavilion

Comments () | Archives (9)

Pretty much anything in the Broad would do. Perhaps a giant version of Piero Manzoni's classic work and foretelling of the corportization and lies of our contempt world,in art and commerce. After all, public relations was invented as a term by Freud's nephew to make corporate propaganda sound less menacing, when truly the same thing. And perfected in the academic art world. Hasn't really done much else for the last fifty years. See you Saturday, no PR, just mirrors.
art collegia delenda est

First thought that comes to mind is Andres Serrano's fluids series, such as Semen and Blood:
But maybe we need the shock value of Eugene Smith's Minamata series, to see what calloused Chisso Chemical wrought upon humanity, in order to understand the damage BP has wrought upon our planet.

And all that would be LACMA's fault? Find $25 million that isn't tainted and I'll eat the BP Grand Entrance. I know they tried to find clean money but Bishop Desmond Tutu wasn't donating that day.
I suggest a portrait gallery of every evil leader, pope, emperor etc. by the famous artists they patronized.

Very clever.... I support your idea!

The Benglis belongs to the Dallas Museum of Art and should include a VAGA credit. Check your WACK! catalogue and MOCA's website.

PFC is correct. The post should say "in the galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art." MOCA's related 1969 Benglis is a poured Polyurethane foam corner piece.

Sure, how about Tony Cragg's, "The Spill" 1987
There is a version in LA, that might be donated.



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