Fast becoming a city of migrating artists in as much it is of angels, as its moniker suggests, Los Angeles welcomes a new museum dedicated to the accessibility of contemporary art. Not since the opening of now-iconic institutions such as the Hammer Museum and Getty Center from the Nineties through to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003, has there been such anticipation for an addition to the city’s cultural topography. This September, The Broad will open its doors to the public and will invite visitors to discover 2000 works by over 200 artists that make up The Broad Art Foundation, founded by L.A.-based philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad.
From its early beginnings in the Sixties, when Edythe Broad began collecting prints by Braque and Toulouse-Lautrec, the Broads soon embarked on a passion-turned-addiction for art that remains as prolific today as it was over 40 years ago: amassing one of the most important private collections of post-war and contemporary art in the world. After 30 years of serving as a lending library, seven years in the planning and $140 million later, the foundation now calls the shrouded angular structure on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles its home. The new landmark, designed by architecture studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York, stands proud in between its neighbours – the Museum of Contemporary Art and the inimitable Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The Broad museum’s lobby with interior veil; photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Key to The Broad’s structural design are the concepts of the ‘veil’ and the ‘vault’ – 50,000 square feet of exhibition space and cavernous state of the art storage facility for the ever active and expanding collection respectively. Visitors will be able to view the holdings of the collection in the vault at several locations across the three-storey museum. The exhibition space on the top level makes the most of its Southern California sunshine with natural light filtering into the white cube galleries from the honeycomb aperture skylights that encase the building.
Installation of works by Christopher Wool and Jeff Koons in The Broad’s third-floor galleries; photo by Bruce Damonte, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Installation of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Ahearn and Robert Therrien in The Broad’s third-floor galleries; photo by Bruce Damonte, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
For its inaugural exhibition, the curation takes a chronological journey of Eli and Edythe’s personal taste of twentieth and twenty-first century artists and art movements with more than 250 works by major American and international artists such as Barbara Kruger, Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and Andy Warhol as well as artists based in L.A. that include John Baldessari and Lari Pittman. Further highlights include the wall-mounted cut-out silhouette installation ‘African’t’, 1996 by Kara Walker and Yayoi Kusama’s entrancing ‘Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away’, 2013. The survey also features works by Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein, of which the Broads have the largest group of holdings by these artists in private hands in the world.
While the collection is resolutely blue-chip and institutional in nature, The Broad museum’s intentions lie within the public realm with a commitment to free general admission. It’s symbolic launch will assert downtown Los Angeles as the centre of the city’s burgeoning art scene, which has caught the interest of art world heavyweights in recent years, as well as a contributing force to its greater cultural identity as a leading global capital of contemporary art.
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013 © Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy of David Zwirner, N.Y.
The Broad museum opens on 20th September 2015 in Los Angeles
221 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90012