The Los Angeles County Museum of Art Plans to Reopen April 1

California has had an especially rocky time with openings and closings (and reopenings), but for the first time since the pandemic lockdowns, the Golden State’s museums were given the greenlight to open at 25 percent capacity. While it will take some museums several weeks to be open to visitors, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will reopen April 1 with six new exhibitions. This comes after pushback against Governor Gavin Newsom who allowed restaurants, gyms, and salons to open at a limited capacity in January, but excluded museums. Art lovers were confused as to why museums would be put in a different category, but the governor maintained that they were a tourist attraction. Like businesses and organizations everywhere, many arts institutions have struggled with the loss of not only ticketing income, but patrons and donors allocating funds elsewhere.

For LACMA, this also coincided with the renovation of its campus to include a new building by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor (however, the project is funded through pledged donors, not the museum’s operating budget so the building isn’t expected to be affected). All in all, LACMA, like the rest of us, has had quite a year.

When the doors open, LACMA visitors can finally see the exhibitions that have been on hold. This includes Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s music-themed exhibition, with its 26-foot-tall sculpture Miss Forest, multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith’s immersive video installation, and Bill Viola’s room-sized video installation, Slowly Turning Narrative, which hasn’t been on display in 20 years. And Angelenos are ready to return to the arts. As Kristin Sakoda, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, told The Arts Newspaper:”The arts play an important role in any community, especially in LA, and need to be part of our sense of what recovery means… they are part of the healing that needs to happen.”

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