Those who have visited LACMA the past couple of years have seen and walked around Tony Smith’s monumental sculpture Smoke. The space that it inhabits in the Ahmanson Pavilion was actually redesigned (by Renzo Piano) specifically for the work.
It would be unimaginable to think of the museum without the piece. Today, you won’t have to. The LA Times reports that LACMA has purchased it. The amount was not revealed, but it is said to exceed $3 million. It is insured for over $5 million, but the institution received a substantial discount in buying it. The funds were provided by one unnamed donor from Bel Air after rumors of a competing offer by another museum was presented. Congratulations to LACMA for now owning one of the “most powerful sculptures of the 20th century.”