After a well attended press preview, sneak peaks and two galas, on September 20th the Broad will open its doors to the public for the first time. The museum, which was five years in the making, will house Eli and Edythe's expansive post war contemporary art collection that includes 2,000 works by 200 artists. The Broad Art Foundation collection was previously held in a concrete bunker in Santa Monica and was only available for viewing by curators, educators and cultural institutions interested in procuring a work on loan, so the final unveiling has been highly anticipated.
The museum will be open to the public and admission will be free (excluding special ticketed events and parking) . Eli Broad has attracted widely publicized scrutiny over everything from the building itself to the collection. While some critiques have merit among learned art circles, I think the museum stays true to the mission of the Broad Art Foundation to advance public appreciation for contemporary art and to keep their works in the public domain.
For the public, the collection is a broad survey of contemporary art with some deep dives into the works of specific artists that the Broads chose to collect extensively. As a bonus, the museum offers plenty of architectural features that will provide attendees with a unique, memorable experience.
Grand Avenue will be teeming with scores of visitors over the next few weeks. Over 85,000 advance tickets have been booked, so new attendees would be smart to plan their visit. With that in mind, here are my three tips for first time visitors:
1. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? (with contemporary art, that is)
Yes? Resist the temptation to immediately go to the third floor; instead I suggest that you should spend the majority of your time on the first floor where newer acquisitions are featured. Among the highlights include Robert Longo's Ferguson Police, Takashi Murakami's In the Land of the Dead, and Ragnar Kjartansson's sonically engulfing video installation The Visitors.
No? That's ok, in fact you are in luck. The Broad's inaugural exhibition is curated chronologically from the 50's through the 2000's. The 3rd floor features the market driven, blue chip artists that define contemporary art:
- 50's Post Abstract Expressionism & Neo Dada: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly
- 60's Pop: Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol
- 80's-90's New York: Jean Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger, Jeff Koons
In a word, the collection as presented is so vast it borders on overwhelming. For some it may require some thoughtful planning on what you really want to see. The collection is also so extensive that it virtually guarantees that frequent visits will always yield new discoveries (according to founding director Joanne Heyler, the Broad will rotate one new piece from the collection into the museum every week).
2. EXPLORE THE BUILDING
Much has been discussed about the construction of the honeycomb veil which I will forever call the Asian Pear (other nicknames like the "cheese grater" have stuck), and I suggest that you find your way to the interior of the "oculus", or the eye of the building. Eli Broad loves a dramatic entrance, so you will experience the "birth canal" reveal via the escalator that slowly brings visitors from the dark, cavernous lobby into the sky-lit 3rd floor. The cylindrical shaped clear elevator feels like a slow slow mo pneumatic tube ride. If you choose to take the stairs between the 1st and 3rd floors you will catch a couple of glimpses into the Broad's vault containing the rest of the Art Foundation's collection that's not on display or loan. Outside the building there's a small grove of 100 year old olive trees and the museum is flanked on its west side by the highly anticipated restaurant Otium by chef Tim Hollingsworth (scheduled to open in October).
3. IF YOU MUST SELFIE...
If you just can't resist your inner Narcissus, get your camera ready for Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room (and be prepared for a wait, it's worth it). The large Jeff Koons Balloon Dog and Rabbit on the 3rd floor will be guaranteed photo magnets as well.
Be sure to leave the selfie sticks at home. They aren't allowed.
The Broad is open Tuesday-Sunday, hours vary.
221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012