When I was in California at Christmastime, a little bit of advanced planning allowed me to enjoy a visit to the new Broad Museum of contemporary art, located in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Featuring 2,000 works of art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like “Bro-d”), admission is free of charge, but because the museum just opened on September 20th, 2015, the demand for tickets is so high that they must be reserved online in advance.
By December, the list was already booked up through February 2016! It is times like these that writing an awesome blog like The Worley Gig comes in handy. With a couple of exchanged emails, the Broad’s press office was kind enough to extend VIP-treatment to myself and two guests, which included front-of-the-line cutting privileges that saved us about two hours of waiting in a queue that already wrapped around two sides of the building by the time the museum opened at 11 AM. It is good to be the King, or Queen, whatever.
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, and featuring an innovative Veil-and-Vault concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection, and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, the building itself is a work of art.
The first thing you are going to want to do when you get into the museum is veer off to the left (when you see the Urs Fisher sculpture above, you are in the right place), look for a museum docent with an iPad, and put your name on a list for timed entry to the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama. We put our names in within 15 minutes of the museum’s opening, and the wait time for entry was already 75 minutes! Usually, only one or two people are allowed inside the installation at one time, and they only let you stay in there for a rigidly-timed 45 to 60 seconds! Because we were a group of 3, they let us all go in at the same time. When your entry time approaches, they will text you so that you can make it back down to the lobby from wherever you are in the museum, to wait about 15 minutes for entry, which is convenient. Read more about the Infinity Mirrored Room and its associated guidelines, at This Link!
Art is displayed on the first (ground) and third floors of the building, with the second floor reserved for storage (more about that later). We took the escalator to the third floor right away and were greeted by Jeff Koons famous mirrored steel Tulips sculpture. So gorgeous! The Broads must be huge fans of Koons, because there is an entire gallery dedicated to just to his work. The Broad has the largest collection of Koons work in one place that I’ve seen since his retrospective at The Whitney back in 2014; which was just insane.
This photo of a Koons Balloon Dog showcases the building’s porous, honeycomb-like exterior (made of fiberglass and reinforced concrete) which lets natural light flow into the galleries, and the glass curtain wall behind it, which protects the interior from the elements. Genius.
If you dig Roy Lichtenstein, there are perhaps a dozen paintings and sculptures by the legendary Pop artist.
I made a video of Barbara Kruger’s lenticular photograph, Have Me, Feed Me, Hug Me, Love Me, Need Me (1988)!
This piece is lots of fun.
A futuristic, cylindrical glass elevator will transport you quickly between the first and the third floors, but if you want to check out the second floor, you will have to take the stairs.
On the second floor landing there are these oval windows set into the stairwell wall, through which you can peer in and see where they store all of the spare artwork. This part of the museum (which is the concrete “Core” of the building) is called The Vault, and it is pretty cool. The Vault is also where laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices are located.
Can you imagine having all of these fantastic artworks — and hundreds more — in your private collection? Unreal. There is a 15-minute introductory film (located adjacent to the Infinity Mirrored Room) that you can watch, which tells you where the Broads got all of their money, in case you’re interested.
The Broads also love to collect the works of superflat artist Takashi Murakami. As with Koons and Lichtenstein, there are enough Murkakamis here to stage a career retrospective.
Also in the lobby space, very close to the entrance, you’ll find another larger-than-life sculpture created by reclusive, LA-based artist Robert Therrien, this time of a stack of saucers. His work is fascinating.
I am not sure how long the inaugural exhibition will be up, and with thousands of artworks to choose from, it would make sense for the museum to change it up fairly often, so be sure to visit The Broad’s Website before you visit. The Broad’s first special exhibition will debut in June 2016, with a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life will be the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition will fill The Broad’s first-floor galleries with close to 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection.
Find out more about The Broad Museum, and plan your visit by reserving your free tickets, at The Broad Dot Org!