At long last, the Scottish Rite Temple will be re-open to the public on May 25 in its new life as the Marciano Art Foundation, a contemporary art space with more than 100,000 square feet housing the collection of the Maurice and Paul Marciano.
The building originally designed by Millard Sheets in 1961 was empty for years never seeming able to find the right use after the Masons left the space in 1994. Thankfully, it has been fully repurposed and renovated by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture in its new role as an art space. The building’s unique characteristics allow for exhibitions in a variety of both traditional and unconventional exhibition spaces, as it was the Marcianos’ intent to maintain and preserve Sheets’ original architectural design and layout as much as possible. There’s more information on the transformation of the building the MAF website.
Neighbors who have gotten an early preview of the building have raved about the transformation of the space, especially the former theatre which has been completely gutted revealing a huge open space. You can still see the outlines of the seats and the stage but it’s now quite literally a blank canvas for artists to create an experience. The top floor features a huge open gallery with fabulous views of the hills and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The museum officially opens May 25 featuring two exhibitions; Unpacking: The Marciano Collection a focused presentation of the Collection’s holdings organized by Philipp Kaiser and the first West Coast institutional solo show of Jim Shaw entitled “The Wig Museum.”
“Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum” will confront the viewer with its own singular type of madcap collection in need of a kind of visual and conceptual unpacking. The artist who works in a variety of media will debut a new body of work that will set the standard for The Marciano Art Foundation as a leader in not only in curating investigations into its own collection but for commissioning and exhibiting large scale bodies of work on view for the first time. The installation features old and new works incorporating many found objects and relics from the Masons who occupied the building prior to its transformation into a contemporary art space by the Marciano Art Foundation.
The MAF is now accepting reservations for free tickets on their website because public access to the MAF is restricted to conform with the Park Mile Specific Plan. Tickets and parking are free but reservations are required to visit. According to their website, the Foundation is unable to accommodate guests without tickets.
In deference to the neighbors the Foundation also advises visitors of parking restrictions in the Windsor Square neighborhood and limited on-site parking that carpooling, rideshares and public transportation are highly encouraged.
Overall, neighbors seem very pleased with the transformation of the former Masonic Temple, there’s one small sticking point — a large pipe on the front of the building that would appear to be for some kind of venting. The Foundation has made efforts to disguise the pipe, painting the original version that was shiny galvanized metal white to blend in better. But according to a MAF spokesman, “the pipe is required by the LA DWP and, while unsightly, it must remain to comply with local ordinances.”
Oh well, perhaps the hedge will mask it eventually.