Art of the Pacific

In summer 2008, LACMA launched a major initiative with acquisitions in a new collecting area, the Art of the Pacific Islands. This move was precipitated by the opportunity to acquire a highly important and surprisingly comprehensive collection from the Masco Corporation Foundation The purchase was made through the generosity of a group of LACMA trustees and represented by gifts from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation with additional funding by Jane and Terry Semel, The David Bohnett Foundation, Camilla Chandler Frost, Gayle and Edward P. Roski, and The Ahmanson Foundation.
The future plans for the display of these works, now part of LACMA’s permanent collection, will be undertaken with a variety of strategies. In this first installation, designed by Viennese artist Franz West, the gallery is installed with geographical groupings that follow population migration patterns, from west to east, in the general sequence of the settlement of these Pacific Islands. Aspects of West’s plan were executed by Andreas Reiter Raabe, who provided wall paintings of pale maté tea.
Earliest settlement began about 50,000 BC with migrations from Southeast Asia to Australia and New Guinea. Much later, around 3500 BC, settlers moved throughout Melanesia, occupying islands such as New Ireland, New Britain, and the Solomons. Two hundred BC marked the emergence of Polynesian culture, as the Marquesas, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga were occupied. During the first millennium AD, Polynesian travelers settled in the Hawaiian Islands, Easter Island, the Society Islands, and the Cook Islands, and at the end of the first millennium (about 1000–1100), populated New Zealand.
Works presented in these galleries represent a wide range of arts from the Pacific regions, with an emphasis on the general areas of Polynesia and Melanesia.
Extended object information can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnail titles to the right.
For gallery visits, guides may be printed in advance from this site or identification cards can be found in the galleries.