In August 2010, philanthropists and art collectors Eli and Edye Broad decided to open their extensive collection to the public and build a contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in Downtown LA.
The design of the building is reflective of the contemporary artwork housed inside and was designed by world-renowned architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. This head-turning landmark fits in well with the adjacent Walt Disney Concert Hall and is surrounded by some much-needed green space interspersed with 100-year-old Barouni olive trees. The angled fiberglass panels provide both an appealing exterior and allow indirect natural light to fill the galleries and offices inside.
The art collection housed within the museum is the compilation of about 50 years of pieces from the Broad’s favorite artists. The 2,000-piece collection features over 250 artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman and Robert Rauschenberg. The collection isn’t bound to canvases and sculptures; it also includes more unconventional pieces like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), Ragnar Kjartansson’s expansive nine-screen video The Visitors (2012), and Goshka Macuga’s photo-tapestry Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite (2013).
The displayed pieces in the inaugural exhibit are housed on both the 1st and 3rd floors, connected by a futuristic elevator that takes you through the 2nd floor vault. On the top floor there are 19 galleries, each with one unifying theme. Some galleries on this floor are dedicated to a single artist since the Broad’s style of collecting focused on an in-depth collection from an artist. Other galleries focus on an era that defines the work of several artists (e.g., New York in the Eighties and The Cold War). The bottom floor features works from 21st-century artists as well as Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room and Kjartansson’s video projection.
Although the museum is completely free to enter, reservations must be made ahead of time on The Broad’s website. Most dates through early October are completely booked, but the inaugural exhibit will remain up for 6 months for those who want to wait and enjoy the artwork once the crowds die down.
By Maggie Lehr