Tom Wiscombe's Old Bank District Museum project featured in The New York Times.
Director for a New Museum
In planning a new contemporary art and design museum- Tom Gilmore- a pioneer of real estate development in Downtown Los Angeles- has been focused on the architecture- commissioning futuristic — some say fantastic — building plans. Now- he’s turning to the art; he just hired as his museum director- Allison Agsten- curator of public engagement at the Hammer Museum. ''We are especially interested in L.A. artists and finding new ways to support them-'' Ms. Agsten said. It has not been determined whether the Old Bank District Museum- as it is unofficially known with a nod to its historic neighborhood- which is now packed with lofts and restaurants- will be a collecting institution or a kunsthalle- a flexible exhibition space. Plans by the architect Tom Wiscombe- under review at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety- show the project will span three existing structures Downtown on South Main Street. The idea is to preserve and reuse original bank vaults and pneumatic tubes from a 1905 neo-Classical-style building- while carving out new spaces.
At the Hammer- Ms. Agsten worked with artists on projects that didn’t fit the traditional exhibition models or galleries- from ''microconcerts'' in a cloakroom by Machine Project to Mark Bradford’s new community center in Leimert Park. Now- she said- ''I cannot wait to let artists loose in the bank vaults.''
Mr. Gilmore- who is chairman of the board at the Southern California Institute of Architecture- nearby- estimated construction could run to $50 million and take four to five years.