The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known to many as the LACMA, is the western United States' largest art museum. What began humbly in 1910 as an addition to the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art in Exposition Park, grew in just a few decades to become the home of one of the most comprehensive art collections in the United States and the world.
The beginning of the museum's life was nothing like its current existence however. In 1910 when the museum opened, there was no collection of art to display. In fact, for a time the art in the museum actually had to be borrowed from external and private sources until funds could be secured which would allow the museum to begin to purchase its own works. With a great deal of public and private support, including extensive contributions on the part of William Randolph Hearst who contributed money and personal pieces of art, the museum quickly grew, especially during the period of time between the 1920s and the 1950s.
By the 1960s, the collection had outgrown its original home, and museum officials and Trustees began looking to establish a museum separate from the Natural History Museum. A donation of land by Allan Hancock gave the Trustees the land they were seeking and in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art officially opened as its own separate museum of art. Located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard on the famed Miracle Mile, the LACMA today plays host to close to a million visitors a year who come to view the museum's collection of more than 100,000 objects and pieces of art that cover and represent nearly the entire history of art, from ancient works of art to modern masterpieces.
The museum itself consists of seven buildings, and is currently undergoing a major renovation which when complete, will successfully unite the buildings that make up the museum's "campus". In addition, the project known as the Transformation will also result in the renovation of several buildings, and the expansion of several galleries. Currently, the renovation of the LACMA has resulted in the construction of an open-air visitors pavilion as well as 60,000 square foot exhibition space that currently serves as the home of art by the likes of artists like Cindy Sherman, Chris Burden, and Jasper Johns.
Over its forty-six year history, the Los Angeles Museum of County Museum of Art has given the visiting public a chance to view works of art from every country, and from just about every period of human history. The LACMA provides tours, discussions, and educational programs intended to promote artistic understanding and appreciation. The museum currently holds an impressive collection of Asian works of art, as well as Latin American artwork from popular artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The museum's collection of Islamic art is considered by many to be one of the world's most impressive and significant.
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