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Los Angeles’s A+D Museum will shutter its physical space, move online permanently

Welcome to the Future

Los Angeles’s A+D Museum will shutter its physical space, move online permanently

The A+D Museum in downtown Los Angeles’s Arts District will leave its physical home for the internet. (Tom Bonner/courtesy the A+D Museum)

Downtown Los Angeles’s A+D Museum, a home for progressive architecture, avant-garde exhibitions, and speculative futures, has announced that it will be closing its physical home and “decentralizing.”

Yesterday, June 17, the museum posted the following announcement on its website:

“The A+D Museum is thrilled to announce an organizational restructure that reprioritizes our audience and impact through exploratory programming through digital platforms and short-term community-driven physical exhibitions and events to reach a more comprehensive, increasingly inclusive audience. As a means of reaching a wider, increasingly inclusive audience and engaging new communities, we are excited to move on from our singular physical presence and advance into our next chapter of the A+D Museum. We thank you, our audience and our supporters, for your ongoing participation and look forward to going on this new venture with you. Visit our redesigned digital home with our news, updates, and projects going live on July 1, 2020.”

What this means in practical terms is that the A+D Museum will now host all of its exhibitions online after July 1, and for real-world shows, will stage temporary pop-up installations in L.A. and beyond, including in Detroit, Miami, and elsewhere across the United States.

The museum’s executive director Anthony Morey told the Los Angeles Times that although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic played a part in the transition, the museum had been planning this move for a while; the downtime afforded by their closure and seeing how other institutions pivoted to offering their exhibitions online helped speed the decision along.

“The world of creation, collaboration and experimentation was,” Morey told the Times, “for a long time, defined by a physical presence, sitting at a table working together and being present.” He added that the museum’s experimental and contemporary focus would only be enhanced by the move, as the medium and message converged (not having to pay rent for the building anymore is plus, too). Rather than enacting layoffs, the museum will also be expanding and hiring four full-time staff members, including a new digital researcher. This will be the second move in recent memory for the museum, as it hopped from Wilshire Boulevard to the Arts District in 2016. The institution’s current home will be emptied by the end of June.

The museum’s Future of Space exhibition has already begun the transition to the virtual realm, and installation shots are viewable on the digital gallery site.