Geffen Will Gives $150M To Build New Galleries at LA County Art Museum

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: David Geffen and Karen LeFrak attend New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala Celebrating the 175th Anniversary Season at David Geffen Hall on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for New York Philharmonic)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - David Geffen has pledged $150 million to build a new building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest gift on record toward the construction of an American museum, it was reported today.

Geffen's pledge raises LACMA's fundraising total to $450 million of the $650 million needed to break ground on a modernist Peter Zumthor building, arguably the most anticipated new piece of architecture in L.A. since Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Zumthor building, to be named the David Geffen Galleries, has evolved from a black, amorphous design reminiscent of the nearby La Brea Tar Pits into a more muscular, sand-colored concrete structure that bridges Wilshire Boulevard, The Times reported. The Zumthor project would further cement L.A.'s rising status as a cultural capital of international import, according to the newspaper.

``There is no great city without a great museum,'' Geffen told The Times by phone from his Beverly Hills home. ``Los Angeles is the city of the future, and with the involvement of those who support art and architecture here, the creation of this building is a very important event.''

The Geffen gift is the largest single cash gift from an individual in LACMA's history and comes after more than three years of relentless fundraising spearheaded by museum Director Michael Govan, the Times reported.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas called the Geffen gift a ``game-changer'' for the museum and ``an inspiring example of how private philanthropists can partner with public institutions to expand architectural and artistic horizons for everyone.''

Although philanthropist Eli Broad, filmmaker George Lucas and Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton have spent or pledged as much or more than Geffen, their museums were designed specifically to house their personal art collections, according to The Times.

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