September 24th, 2015 Art Los Angeles
The Broad has now opened in downtown Los Angeles. It is an inspiring contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edy Broad on Grand Avenue. The museum, which was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler is a beautiful addition to LA. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. The museum will be home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which are among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. The gallery space is very well designed and washed in natural light that pierces the architectural veil of the building.
Eli and Edy Broad built their collection of postwar and contemporary art over the last five decades. What is amazing about the collection is not only the vast number of prominent works but how fun it is to view and experience the art. The space and the collection have a playful and whimsical vibe to them and if you watch you will see it reflected in the way people interact with the art.
There are works from contemporary artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, and many more.
I only had two criticism of the museum. One had to do with flow–The gallery spaces are located on the 3rd and 1st floors. The second floor is comprised of office space, which I felt cut the museum in half. I found it a bit of an interruption to the viewing and enjoying the whole collection seamlessly. The only other thought would be regarding the gift shop. It appears that the retail was an after thought. The shop wraps around a concrete wall which makes it very difficult to keep an eye on the merchandise. You will end up needing to employee more people to work the full floor. Additionally the space was not merchandised well–and consequently it felt like there was very little product and lacked energy. I also felt it needed a wider and more interesting product mix—more reflected of the incredible art that is showcased in the museum.
Overall the museum is a fantastic gift to the people and city of Los Angeles. I have read various critics knocking the museum for one thing or another but when I visited, it stuck me how many people were truly enjoying the collection as well as themselves. I think its a wonderful museum and a generous gift. Thank you Eli and Edy for sharing your incredible collection with all of us.
221 S. Grand Ave.
Downtown Los Angeles,
General admission to The Broad is FREE.
Advance reservations are available online.