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Guess Co-Founder's Massive L.A. Art Museum Set To Open In Spring 2017

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(Photo courtesy wHY)
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After years of buzz and speculation, Guess co-founder Maurice Marciano's art museum is finally set to open in Spring 2017. The Marciano Art Foundation—a partnership between Maurice Marciano and his brother Paul—will be housed in L.A.'s landmark Scottish Rite Masonic Temple building on Wilshire, which the Marciano's purchased in 2013 for $8 million.

The 100,000 square-foot Mid-Wilshire building has sat empty in recent years, after serving as a Masonic temple for decades. It was originally designed by Millard Sheets in 1961, and architect Kulapat Yantrasast has led renovations over the past three years to repurpose the temple into an art space. According to the Wall Street Journal, L.A. artist Alex Israel acted as the building's accidental real-estate broker:

[Israel] spotted a for-sale sign on the temple a few years ago and insisted the collector take a look. “I said, ‘Wait, before you buy anything else—you have to check out this building on Wilshire,’ ” Israel says. “ ‘It’s unlike any other space.’ ”

The Marciano Art Foundation was created to offer the public access to the brothers' collection, and a representative told LAist that museum admission will be free to the public. Little of the brothers' extensive collection has been previously exhibited publicly, according to the Journal.

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A representative told LAist that the Marcianos are particularly interested in L.A. artists, and that over the years they have collected works by locals such as Ed Ruscha, Alex Israel, Sterling Ruby, and Mike Kelley, all of which will be shown at the museum.

Doug Aitken, another prominent L.A. artist, praised the Marciano's approach to the Journal, saying, "A lot of private museums are interested in checking off lists, but they don’t create any helpful disruption."

According to a press release, the museum will open with two inaugural exhibitions: the first West Coast institutional solo show of Jim Shaw entitled The Wig Museum will debut alongside Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, a focused presentation of the Collection's holdings organized by curator Philipp Kaiser.