Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Partners with LACMA to Open Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

What a difference a few years make, don’t they? Back in the latter half of 2009, you might recall that the whole of both the film and art crowds were furious at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for suggesting it might have to cut its then-relatively sparsely attended film program. Everyone from critic Kenneth Turan to director Martin Scorsese rose up to speak out against the move. Cut to two years later and not only was the program saved by lots of donations pouring in, but just this year, the LACMA has announced that it had partnered with Film Indepedent to keep the program lively, and that popular critic Elvis Mitchell had come aboard as a curator. This new love between the museum and the film industry seems to be growing, with the news this week that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the people who put together the Oscars) has joined forces with the LACMA to open a new museum called The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (pdf). The current plan is for the new institution to move into the former May Company department store building, which is owned by the museum and is known as LACMA West. Beyond the announcement of the collaboration, there isn’t much detail available yet as to what it will look like or when it will open, though the initial description is that it will host “both permanent and rotating exhibitions inside the facility’s 300,000 gross square feet.” First, of course, they’ll need to raise the money to create the thing, so expect a major fundraising effort to commence in the near future. Here’s a bit from the press release:

“It is appropriate and long overdue for the city that is home to the motion picture industry to recognize this art form with a museum of its own. The LACMA Board is delighted to be facilitating this important cultural event, which has special resonance for me, having spent most of my life dedicated to the great art of movies,” said co-chair of the LACMA Board of Trustees Terry Semel. “The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will provide a much needed destination for cultural tourists and Los Angelenos to learn more about cinema, and the setting could not be more ideal, nestled next to the largest encyclopedic art museum in the Western United States.” According to Academy President Tom Sherak, “The new museum will be a world-class destination that is a tangible representation of the Academy’s mission. And the idea of our museum being part of a larger cultural center for the arts, in this city that we love, was incredibly compelling to the Academy Board.”