New Museum

Los Angeles Broad Art Foundation aims at ultra accessibility

Los Angeles collectors Eli and Edythe Broad open their doors


True to his promise of getting “art out of the basement,” Eli and Edythe Broad’s new 120,000 sq. ft downtown Los Angeles Broad Art Foundation museum (called “The Broad”) has been designed with a space that enables visitors to not only peer into the building’s art storage areas, located on the second and first floors, but is also accessible to scholars and curators for research and loans. Broad told The Art Newspaper that the move is in keeping with his long-standing belief in sharing his 2,000-piece art collection with institutions around the world. “We have made 8,000 loans to 485 different places, and we are going to continue doing that at the new foundation headquarters,” said Broad.

Designed by the New York-based architectural firm, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the three-storey, honeycomb-clad structure, complete with sunlit, column-free galleries, is situated across the street from Frank Gehry’s flamboyant Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MoCA), where Broad was founding chairman in 1979, is also a near neighbour. “Although the collections overlap to some degree, we think it’s complementary” said Broad, who was optimistic that “between both the arts institutions we can kick up attendance to 500,000 a year”. The museum, which is estimated to cost $130m, was bestowed an endowment of $200m from the Broads, which surpasses that of LA MoCA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art combined.

The Broad museum’s inaugural exhibition, scheduled to take place in two years, will display 200 works from the collection, which includes pieces by John Baldessari, Marlene Dumas and Cy Twombly.

The design has received a mixed reception, however. The Los Angeles Times welcomed its “muscular” presence on Grand Avenue but regretted that it provided “a limited supply of [the architects’] typical flair”.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Broad’s “muscular” museum'