By ANNETTE SEMERDJIAN| Los Angeles is proud to welcome its newest art museum in the Marciano Art Foundation on Wilshire Boulevard. Maurice and Paul Marciano, the founders of Guess? Jeans, bought the former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in 2013 before converting it to the Marciano Art Foundation, an art museum curated by Philipp Kaiser which displays the brothers’ personal collection.
Before its official opening this May, there was a VIP party for the opening of the new Marciano museum with about 600 guests including Sharon Stone, Jeff Koons, and Larry Gagosian. The ceremony previewed the Marciano’s personal collection on display now as well as “Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum.”
Artist Millard Sheets designed the marble and travertine structure in 1961. The building was repurposed by wHY Architecture and they turned the space into a gallery to fully realize Maurice and Paul’s vision for the place. They kept in mind the creation of an ‘Art Playground’ as they transformed the 110,000 square-foot space.
The outer appearance of the building still has its Masonic facade with a windowless exterior while the interior was created into an all-white aesthetic. Although the repurposing of this building changed the interior of the building, it also preserved the symbols of Masonry throughout the outside of the structure and the Egyptian-influenced sculptures alongside the walls of the exterior. Although the historic influences in Masonic symbolism are apparent, they are still shrouded in mystery. The museum even features an ongoing exhibit of Masonic objects in The Relic Room. The aura of secrecy still lingering from the former Masonic temple makes this new addition to L.A.’s art scene even more interesting and alluring.
The museum features multiple exhibit spaces from large collections to smaller solo works. The museum also has its own cafe, lounge, and bookstore, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden. The bookstore features a special Marciano Art Foundation book, Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, that takes a look at the details behind this unique museum with insights from architect Kulapat Yantrasast.
The museum is located on 4357 Wilshire Boulevard with free admission, but reservations for tickets must be made online at the Marciano Art Foundation’s website. Angelenos will also be relieved to know that the parking lot of the building provides free space to park. The museum is open to school tours on Wednesday from 10am-4pm and is open to the public 11am-5pm on Thursday and Friday, and 10am-6pm on Saturday.