This article explores the reasons behind a trend of abruptly closing private museums in the United States and abroad, using the Marciano Art Foundation as a prime example. It explains how funding shortages, thwarted ambitions, and the priorities of founders erode some institutions.
“Founders often fail to appreciate just how much it will cost to build, run and maintain a private museum. ‘It’s more fun building a museum and a collection and opening it than running it,’ says Adrian Ellis, the founding director of AEA Consulting.”
Last spring, I visited the Marciano Art Foundation (MAF) in Los Angeles. Marble and travertine-clad, the virtually windowless edifice on Wiltshire Boulevard boasted mosaic panels and larger-than-life statues of gods, US presidents and Masonic figures along the street side. In the impeccably maintained forecourt (they called it a "sculpture garden") were works by Ugo Rondinone and Franz West.