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Leo S. Bing Theatre/LACMA

5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036  | map |

Opened: The Leo S. Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened March 26, 1965 with the premiere of Éclat, an original composition by Pierre Boulez commissioned for the occasion. It was a nicely equipped theatre that showed lots of revivals, foreign films and more.

It was in the middle of the campus on the north side of Wilshire just east of Fairfax Ave. In this 2010 LACMA entrance view it's the Broad Contemporary Art Museum on the left. The theatre was off to the right beyond the Ahmanson Building that we see behind Chris Burden's streetlight sculpture. Photo: Bill Counter

Architect: William L. Pereira.

See Mary Mallory's 2020 Daily Mirror article "William Pereira, Entertainment Architect." Curbed L.A. had a 2020 story about the original buildings by Hadley Meares titled "LACMA is beloved. Its design never was."  Time magazine called the complex the "Temple of the Tar Pits."

Seating: 600

70mm capability was added in 1992 with installation of Century JJ2 projectors. They celebrated with a festival of 16 films to show off their new capabilities. Thanks to Michael Coate for sharing this June 18 ad from the L.A. Times. He notes that the July 10 "to be announced" screening turned out to be "Gandhi."

Later events in 70 included "One From the Heart" and another screening of "Apocalypse Now." Michael Coate comments: "I bet 'One from the Heart' was during their Vittorio Storaro festival in, I think, 1999. I met Storaro there during that series (terrifying!) and saw a mint 70 of 'Apocalypse Now.'"

A view of the booth and its Simplex 35/70s. Thanks to Corky Baines for sharing this shot from a friend of his in a Facebook post.

Closing: The last events were held in July 2019. See Eric Gudas' December 2019 L.A. Review of Books article "A Farewell to LACMA's Bing Theatre."

Status: The building was demolished in April 2020. The L.A. Times covered the event in their April 7 story "Demolition of LACMA begins. Here are the photos" by Deborah Vankin."

It was a casualty of LACMA's controversial construction program that will replace the 60s vintage buildings on the campus with a strange creation designed by Peter Zumthor that will sprawl across Wilshire. They're planning a new theatre but with only a capacity of around 300. In the interim, the museum's film program is hosting occasional events at other venues.

Website: Film at LACMA

The theatre's entrance. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018 

The outer lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The inner lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The inner lobby from house right. Photo: Jason Brown on Flickr - 2008. Thanks, Jason!

A look toward the screen. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

A closer shot of the front of the auditorium from the LACMA Film Programs web page.

The view from the rear of the auditorium. The photo is from Jason Brown on Flickr. Also see his 101 photo LACMA Research set from 2008.

A shot from house left. Photo: Jason Brown on Flickr - 2008

A look to the rear of the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The back rows. Photo: Jason Brown on Flickr - 2008

Across from house right. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The doomed Bing Theatre building as seen from Wilshire. Photo: Google Maps - April 2019


An early April 2020 demolition view by Allen J. Schaben for the L.A. Times. It's one of four photos that appeared with Deborah Vankin's April 7 story  "Demolition of LACMA begins. Here are the photos."

Another demolition view by Allen J. Schaben for the L.A. Times.

More information: There are more demolition photos from Michael Poirier on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page (4 photos) and Paul Wright, also on Photos of Los Angeles (7 photos).

Bianca Barragan had an article about the demo on Curbed L.A.

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  1. what a disgrace that it was demolished for another cheap modern building.: (

  2. Yes, this is quite a loss. Very sad...