Instead of giving a scheduled talk on "The State of the Arts in Orange County" at the Newport Harbor Art Museum yesterday, museum director Kevin Consey was on a secret mission to Paris that may change the state of local architecture.
He is abroad to interview Italian architect Renzo Piano--best known for his controversial design (with British architect Richard Rogers) of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris--before making a final choice from among seven candidates to design the Newport Harbor Museum's $20-million new home. Piano is "very high on (Consey's) wish list," according to a source close to the selection process.
A decision is expected at a board of directors meeting Oct. 29,Newport Harbor development director Margie Shackelford said.
Beyond confirming that another finalist is respected Los Angeles architect Charles W. Moore--designer of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College--museum officials declined comment.
"It was decided to keep this process very quiet," museum spokeswoman Kathy Bryant said. "The idea was not to let it become a popularity contest before the final decision was made."
Shackelford confirmed the Paris visit and said she believes that all the finalists have been interviewed once and that though this will be Piano's second meeting with Consey, he is not necessarily the front runner.