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Inside the Marciano Art Foundation, a Masonic Temple Turned Spellbinding Art Museum


The giant Striding Figure (Rome I) (2013) by Thomas Houseago approaches the entrance of the Marciano Art Foundation.The lobby of the Marciano Art Foundation"Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" combines found objectswith made-for-display items to create a first-floor wonderland at the Marciano Art Foundation.Marciano Art FoundationA photo mural of artist Cindy Sherman in Masonic dress greets visitors in the lobby of the Marciano Art Foundation.Remnants of the Temple are around every corner and on every elevator of the Marciano Art Foundation."Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" takes up the first floor of the Marciano Art Foundation."Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" uses found objectsto create a Hollywood Boulevard experience at the Marciano Art Foundation."Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" combines found objectswith made-for-display items to create a first-floor wonderland at the Marciano Art Foundation.The Marciano Art Foundation’s collection of Masonic relics has its own space on the second floor. These items were left behind when the Masons were forced to vacate the building in 1994 due to zoning issues."Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" combines found objectswith made-for-display items to create a first-floor wonderland at the Marciano Art Foundation.Behind the proscenium and down a flight of stairs is Adrian Villar Rojas’ Two Suns (II) (2015) at the Marciano Art Foundation.A Burning Bush (Barbara) hides behind a wall in "Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum" at the Marciano Art Foundation.A Scenic Artists Guild mark on the back of the inferno backdropA Scenic Artists Guild mark on the back of the inferno backdropBalloon Dog (2013) at the Marciano Art FoundationA visitor shows how large artist Paul McCarthy's White Snow Head (2012-13) really is at the Marciano Art Foundation.The third floor of the Marciano Art FoundationUntitled (Creamsicle Drawing in Two Parts: L: 85 10/16 x 47 5/8 R 85 1/2 x 47 1/2 DO NOT SEPARATE 41.12) (2010) by Mark Grotjahn at the Marciano Art FoundationOriginal Masonic mosaic by Millard Sheets at the Marciano Art FoundationBottle caps make up African artist El Anatsui’s They Finally Broke the Pot of Wisdom (2011) at the Marciano Art Foundation.TannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuserTannhäuser

The Marciano Art Foundation, which recently opened on Wilshire Boulevard in the famous Scottish Rite Masonic Temple designed by Millard Sheets in 1961, sits kitty-corner from the equally beautiful Wilshire Ebell Theater, surrounded by million-dollar historic homes. Turns out the Masonic Temple is a perfect setting for Guess co-founders Maurice and Paul Marciano's collection of modern art, which includes upward of 1,500 pieces. The current exhibitions — “Unpacking,” which features pieces from the Marciano collection, and “The Wig Museum,” longtime L.A. artist Jim Shaw's first museum show on the West Coast — revel in the strange and macabre. The old Masonic theater has been gutted and left open to show off the bones of the space. The combination of art and architecture makes for a breathtaking museum experience.

All photos by Star Foreman