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A $25-million front entrance

Gift to LACMA from Lynda and Stewart Resnick will pay for a new entry pavilion.

January 26, 2006|Suzanne Muchnic | Times Staff Writer

A 25-million gift to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art made anonymously more than a year ago goes public today with the announcement that a glass-encased structure designed as the museum's new front door will be called the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Grand Entrance Pavilion. The designation is in honor of the Los Angeles couple's donation and Lynda Resnick's 14-year tenure on the board of trustees.

"It will be a big, beautiful, gloriously sparkling place," Lynda Resnick said of the 20,000-square-foot pavilion designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano as part of a massive renovation and expansion plan. Flanked by a cluster of existing buildings on the east and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, under construction on the west, the pavilion will be a public plaza with event spaces, a restaurant, shops and adjacent patios.

"We are low-key philanthropists," said Resnick, vice chairwoman of the LACMA board and longtime head of the acquisitions committee. She and her husband, chief executive and chairman of Roll International Corp., which includes Teleflora, Fiji Water, the Franklin Mint and Paramount Agribusiness, intended to retain the anonymity of their gift but museum officials persuaded them that publicly acknowledging their support might encourage contributions from others, she said.

"We love art," Resnick said. "We think this is a great legacy to leave to the city."

LACMA President Melody Kanschat called the donation "a significant gift" in the museum's history. "Combined with the support we have received from other trustees," she said, "it is the key gift in helping us get this project off the ground and make it happen."

The Resnick gift is part of $172 million raised for LACMA's ongoing capital and endowment campaign. Museum officials have not set an overall goal for the campaign, partly because plans for transforming the 20-acre campus are still in the works. The goal for the endowment, which has risen from $49 million to $125 million in the last decade, is $200 million.

The museum also will announce its receipt of about $33.5 million in additional campaign pledges. The largest is a $23.9-million bequest to establish the Anna H. Bing Children's Art Foundation Endowment, which will launch an outreach program in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Other pledges include $3 million from Dwight and Donna Kendall and $1 million each from BP America Inc., Yvonne Lenart, the Ressler/Gertz Family Foundation and the Marc and Eva Stern Foundation.

The first phase of LACMA's makeover -- including the Resnick pavilion and the $50-million contemporary art building funded by trustee Eli Broad -- is budgeted at $145 million. Piano's plans also call for a covered concourse linking the east and west sections of the campus, an underground parking structure, a unified facade along Wilshire Boulevard and revitalization of the Ahmanson Building. Completion of these components is scheduled for late 2007.

Phase 2 will reorganize the museum's collections. European art will be shown in the Ahmanson Building, Asian art in the Hammer Building and the Pavilion for Japanese Art, art of the Americas in the Anderson Building and contemporary art in the Broad building. Phase 3 will reconfigure LACMA West, the former May Co. department store, providing space for galleries, collections, offices and a conference center.

"This is a big deal for our city," Resnick said. "Museums have to keep up with the 21st century."

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