The final session of the day was a keynote address by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Director and CEO of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is currently being built in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, right next door to the Natural History Museum. It is a rather fascinating project because it treats art as a broad narrative, encompassing prints and photographs alongside paintings, blurring the boundaries of medium and high and low, so including George Bellows next to Andrew Wyeth next to Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks. The building is designed by a Chinese architect, Ma Yansong, who worked for Zaha Hadid before opening an office in Beijing:-
Very oddly, it is conceptually not totally dissimilar from the new LACMA in the way in which it deliberately eschews traditional architectural forms for curved walls and shapes and they are both one story up in order to create a plaza below:-
Both are determined to break the mould of traditional museums in ways which are not dissimilar: abolishing the canon; opening themselves up to non-traditional art; treating the experience as more about browsing than study. They are both scheduled to open in the next few years. It will be interesting to compare the ways in which they are received by the museum and art history communities.