Sister Cities, Sister Museums: LACMA and Bordeaux

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing Los Angeles' uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present. Among the museum's strengths are its holdings of Asian art; Latin American art, ranging from masterpieces from the Ancient Americas to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.The museum approaches the past from a contemporary perspective through collaborations with artists and architects in the presentation of its collections, and through the installation of monumental artworks by the likes of Chris Burden, Barbara Kruger, Michael Heizer and others around its campus. In the last eight years the museum has generated significant momentum, doubling its campus and exhibition program, doubling attendance, and adding more than 19,000 artworks to its collection.

LACMA, Wiltshire BLVD

This year, LACMA marks its 50th anniversary by celebrating its past just as it looks to its future. Opening in April the exhibition, 50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA's 50th Anniversary, features all new gifts from a variety of generous donors, from paintings by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres to silkscreens by Andy Warhol. The exhibition also includes selected highlights from the recent, historic bequest of A. Jerrold Perenchio, a collection of masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries by artists including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard, and others. The majority of the newly promised gifts in 50 for 50 will be unveiled at an anniversary gala event on April 18, followed by a free public opening on April 26.

Important retrospectives and survey exhibitions will take place at LACMA throughout 2015. Opening on June 7, Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada, explores this pivotal yet under-recognized figure in the development of postwar American art. Frank Gehry, opening September 13, presents a comprehensive examination of the architect's extraordinary body of work from the early 1960s to the present, featuring over 200 drawings and 65 models. In the fall, New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933 is the first exhaustive exhibition in the U.S. to explore the dominant artist trends of Germany's Weimar Republic. Also in the fall, Diana Thater's mid-career retrospective presents the video artist's large-scale installations and projections.

Looking further into the future, LACMA is working with a Pritzker Prize-winning architect to design a new building that would replace four aging facilities on LACMA's twenty-acre campus. The thoughtfully designed plan, scheduled for completion in 2023, increases gallery space by nearly 50,000 square feet while creating an experience at once more accessible and engaging for visitors.

A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over one million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions through digital initiatives such as online collections, scholarly catalogues, and interactive engagement. LACMA is situated at the center of Los Angeles in a park which also contains the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits and the forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Located halfway between the ocean and downtown, LACMA is at the cultural heart of Los Angeles.

The Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts

Founded in 1801, the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts houses one of the top ten public French art collections of paintings, sculptures, and drawings. More than 8,000 works show a panorama of the principal time periods of west art from the 15th to 20th centuries, punctuated with works by Veronese, Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Reynolds, Delacroix, Corot, Renoir, Matisse or Picasso, and a rich collection of 17th century Dutch masterpieces.  As well, the collection offers a view of regional artistic life from the 18th to the 20th centuries through the works of Lacour, Redon, Marquet, Lhote, and Dupas.

Musée de beaux-arts de Bordeaux

A major interior renovation has been carried out since 2010 in the two wings dedicated to the permanent collection and to the dedicated temporary exhibition wing.  Since the end of 2013, the museum has been completely open giving visitors a better presentation and a more comfortable visit.  To discover these treasures, the education department recommends a guided visit of the permanent collections and temporary exhibits as well as treasure hunts for families in particular.  Workshops are open to children on Wednesdays and during school holidays.  During 2015, the education department of the museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, within in the FRAME partnership, introduced the students of Bordeaux middle school Cassignol and the students of The Collegiate School of Richmond, Va to a project centered around language exchange, heritage, and art history awareness.

A program of conferences, concerts, lectures, dance are a part of the museum's life.  These offer new and different approaches to the works, exhibits, and the collection.

Temporary Exhibits
The museum also schedules temporary exhibits, which are shown in the gallery of fine Arts.

During 2014, the gallery welcomed a selection of photographs from the rich collection if the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for the exhibit Road Trip organized for the 50th anniversary of Bordeaux and Los Angeles being twin cities.

During 2015, two exhibits will be shown.  During the springtime, it will be Bordeaux-Italie: Exchanges and Artistic Visions of the 17th to 20th Centuries exposition to illustrate from the museum's collection the many links and exchanges between Bordeaux, France, Europe, and the Italian peninsula.  During the autumn, the exposition Modern Bacchanalia: Nudity, Inebriation, and Dancing in French Art of the 19th Century will show with a multidisciplinary approach the multiple facets of the sensual bacchanalian figure which attracted renewed and unprecedented popularity during the 19th century.  The unedited exhibit reunites a selection of works lent from the most important public collections of the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Rodin, Musée du Petit Palais, and the Bibliothèque [grave accent] Nationale de France.

Lending Artwork
The museum is asked regularly to lend works nationally and internationally.  Organized this year in partnership with the principal municipal museums as well as the municipal Library and Archives the exhibit Bordeaux, Port to the Moon shows the richness of Bordeaux's heritage at two Japanese museums: the Municipal Art Museum of Fukuoka , twin city of Bordeaux, and the National Museum of Western Art of Tokyo.  As the coordinator of this exhibit, the Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux lent sixty works of its collection including Eugène Delacroix's emblematic work Lion Hunt and Pierre Lacour's View of Bordeaux.

The exceptional loan of Eugène Delacroix's Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi to LACMA for the 50th Anniversary of Bordeaux and Los Angeles being twin cities.  As well, loaning Benjamin-Constant's Morrocan Prisoners for the retrospective dedicated to the painter by the Musee des Augustins of Toulouse and followed by the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal shows Bordeaux's commitment to the FRAME network and FRAME's vitality on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Museum Team
The museum is staffed forty people.  It has three departments: Collections and Expositions, Administration, Cultural Development.  Its website lets the public discover the entire collection, stay informed of the news, and offered activities.

The museum welcomed more than 117,000 visitors during 2014.