Home Savings, LACMA, and the mausoleum?

Tony Smith, Smoke, inside the LACMA Ahmanson Building atrium
Tony Smith, Smoke, inside the LACMA Ahmanson Building atrium

A few final thoughts from researching the Pacific Standard time exhibits and the Sheets Studio:

First, the LA Conservancy has a Pacific Standard Time tour of Millard Sheets sites in Claremont and Pomona on March 18. A great time to see these connections; sign-up info here. Stay late in the day, and I should be on hand as well for a panel discussion.

Second, have you ever noticed how the Ahmanson building at the LACMA looks a lot like the early Home Savings buildings? Howard Ahmanson clearly had his favorite architects — Edward Durrell Stone, William Pereira, and Millard Sheets’s Studio — and it seems the museum building borrows from the Home Savings look — blank travertine faces with no windows, lower entrance ways, into soaring central spaces. Instead of teller windows and interior mosaic, you get more blank faces in the Ahmanson building atrium, hiding the floors of art behind.

This element of the Home Savings architecture was derided as looking like a mausoleum — perhaps that is part of what motivated Ed Ruscha to dream of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire

Ed Ruscha, Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire, 1965-1968
Ed Ruscha, Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Fire, 1965-1968

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I have been busy with research at the Huntington, more oral histories, and new initiatives — including a definitive list of locations — to be highlighted here soon. Stay tuned!

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