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Art Museum Gets a '6-Figure' Gift

May 05, 1987|SUZANNE MUCHNIC | Times Art Writer

The Museum of Contemporary Art has received a major gift from Shuwa Investments Corp., museum officials confirmed Monday.

Although the amount of the contribution was not revealed, William Kieschnick, chairman of the museum board, said it was "a six-figure amount," somewhat smaller than the speculative figure of $1 million released in early accounts.

Shuwa, the U.S. subsidiary of a major Japanese investment company, owns several office buildings in Los Angeles, including Arco Towers, the Chase Plaza Building and the 1900 Avenue of the Stars. Among Shuwa's East Coast holdings are the ABC Building and the Mellon Financial Center in New York and the Paine Webber facility in Boston.

The corporation's contribution will go into the museum's capital fund for art, possibly to help pay for the $11-million Panza collection of Abstract Expressionist and Pop art.

The official announcement of the gift was planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday, when a plaque bearing the donor's name is to be unveiled in one the museum's north galleries, but the news leaked on Monday.

6th Gallery Named

Contacted by phone, Kieschnick confirmed that the museum had acquired its sixth gallery named for a donor. The room displaying the work of Jasper Johns will be called the Shuwa Corp.-Kobayashi Gallery.

Kieschnick said the museum had approached Shuwa for a donation. He hailed the gift as a natural outgrowth of the corporation's presence in Los Angeles and of the museum's original home in Little Tokyo. Before opening the new building in California Plaza, the museum operated out of a renovated warehouse called the Temporary Contemporary. The museum has a 50-year lease on that city-owned facility.

The Shuwa donation gives a large boost to the young institution, still working to fund its projected $50-million endowment. Although its backers raised a qualifying endowment of $14 million with apparent ease, and slowly brought in $22 million more, they are still short $14 million of their goal.

Kieschnick said the campaign picked up steam before the December opening of the $23-million facility, designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.

"There's still a lot of hard work to do," he said.

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