The opening of The Broad in Los Angeles was among the most anticipated art events in 2015. Philanthropists and art collectors, Eli and Edythe Broad made a decision to open the museum to host more than 2 thousand art works from their collection as well as museum holdings (The Broad Art Foundation has made loans to more than 500 museums!). The Broads have been collecting contemporary art throughout their life making it one of the most prominent collections worldwide.
In 2008 LACMA opened the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a pavilion for the Broad’s collection and temporary exhibitions. However this wasn’t enough for their expanding collection. The opening of The Broad in downtown LA was an expected thing to happen. Today The Broad is an internationally recognized art landmark and an absolute must visit when in LA!
The museum has a very convenient location for art lovers, which is very rare in LA. Unlike, say, Getty Center (link to the article Robert Irwin Garden in Breathe) or LACMA, The Broad is co-located with MOCA. The Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by LA born and based architect Frank Gehry is just within a two-minute walk. Another attraction, the Grand Park, right by the Concert Hall is an intimate oasis for relaxation and contemplation.
The museum opened its doors to public in September 2015 and, what a wonderful surprise, it is free! However, be prepared to the never-ending line-ups. Seems like the number of visitors never decreases. Museeum team was happy to attend both the press opening as well as explore museum’s futuristic hallways months later.
The inaugural exhibition showed works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Koons, Rauschenberg, Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha and many more “startists”. Make sure to leave a good two hours for a proper visit. The Broad was designed by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. If you are not familiar with their work, Diller Scofidion + Renfro specialize in visual and performing arts designs. Their work include Smithsonian Design Museum, Stanford Art and Art History campus, Berkeley Art Museum (due to open in 2016) and more.
Apart from the sculptural façade, architects thought through the indoor experience of the museum. We would describe it best with the word “fluidity”. The ceiling grid with numerous small windows makes the museum full of light.
Once in the lobby – take the escalator to the 2nd floor. We loved a tube elevator with transparent walls. Feels like museum’s architecture is guiding you to explore the collection: from the lobby to the 2nd and 3rd floor, then down to the administrative offices and back to the lobby and the design store and, finally, to the outdoor garden filled in with olive trees.
The most fascinating thing about museum’s architecture and design is that you can actually see the open storage and get a sneak peek of what’s in there. Take the stairwell to the 3rd floor and check it out through the windows. It is an impressive 21,000-square-feet collection storage space. Then walk down to the 1st-floor lobby and explore the “behind the scene” space: offices, conference and meeting rooms – everything that is normally not accessible for general public. The motivation to design the space in such a way was never openly brought up to public but we’re guessing The Broad took a step towards being the most public museum so far, not only giving a free admission but literally opening its doors to reveal everything related to how contemporary museums function.
The stunning design of The Broad reinforces the general experience from seeing the art collection. Take your time and walk through its halls, explore the outdoor space and explore the façade. We promise you an unforgettable experience!