The Broad, the new contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles opened to the public on Sunday, September 20, 2015.
Built by philanthropists and longtime art collectors Eli and Edythe Broad, The Broad will welcome visitors from near and far with free general admission to an inaugural installation drawn from two collections of more than 2,000 works of contemporary art. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), The Broad makes its home in the city’s burgeoning Grand Avenue arts corridor, across the street from architectural icons including Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
“Edye and I are delighted to announce an opening date, and we are already looking forward to welcoming the public to our museum,” said Eli Broad. “It is our privilege to give this museum, the works in our art collections and a sizeable endowment and free admission as a gift to the people of Los Angeles.”
“When we open our doors on September 20, we will be greatly advancing Eli and Edye’s vision of sharing contemporary art with the broadest possible audience,” said Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad. “The combination of innovative architecture and provocative art will make visiting The Broad an experience to remember.”
The new museum’s opening installation will be a predominantly chronological selection of masterworks from the Broads’ extraordinary personal art collection as well as that of The Broad Art Foundation. The installation will begin with works by major artists who came to prominence in the 1950s, including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. The Pop art of the 1960s—an area of great depth in the collections—will be represented through works by Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol, among others. Moving into the 1980s—the decade when The Broad Art Foundation was established—the installation will present a rich concentration of works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger and Jeff Koons. The installation will continue up through the present, with works including a monumental, immersive, nine-screen video piece, The Visitors, by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, which was only recently acquired for the collections, among many other new acquisitions.
The Broads have been at the center of the civic and cultural development of downtown Los Angeles since they moved to the city in 1964. The couple has spent five decades assembling two of the world’s most admired collections of postwar and
contemporary art, with the aim of creating a widely accessible public collection. In addition to their personal collection, they created The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 as a lending library of contemporary art for museums around the world. The foundation, which will be headquartered in the new museum, has made more than 8,000 loans to over 500 museums.
Works from both The Broad Art Foundation collection and the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection will be shown at The Broad.
The Broad collections include the largest grouping of Cindy Sherman works in the world, one of the largest of Jeff Koons, the largest collection of Roy Lichtenstein’s works outside of the Lichtenstein Foundation, the only near-complete grouping of the 570-plus multiples of Joseph Beuys in the Western U.S. and one of the most significant groupings of Christopher Wool paintings. Among the other artists represented in depth in the continually growing collections are Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, Leon Golub, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Jasper Johns, Mike Kelley, Ellsworth Kelly, Glenn Ligon, Sharon Lockhart, Lari Pittman, Charles Ray, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Philip Taaffe, Robert Therrien, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol and Terry Winters.
DS+R’s remarkable design for The Broad features public gallery spaces on the first and third floors, with a central “vault” housing collection storage and staff offices seeming to hover between. Upon entering the lobby, visitors will travel up a 105-foot escalator through the concrete vault and emerge into the third-floor gallery, which features 23-foot ceilings and 318 skylights that filter diffused sunlight. Upon exiting the third floor, most visitors will again descend through the vault via a central stairwell, which offers glimpses of the artwork in the archive that may be displayed in future exhibitions.
Wrapped around the Grand Avenue elevation of the building, like a “veil,” is a porous exoskeleton made of concrete panels and steel. The veil filters natural daylight into the building’s interior and establishes lines of sight between the museum and the street. The veil lifts at the south and north corners of the building to define two street-level entrances.
Gensler served as executive architect for the museum building project.
Integral to the project is an adjacent 24,000-square-foot outdoor public plaza, also designed by DS+R, which stretches from Hope Street to Grand Avenue. Featuring a grove of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees and a large lawn, as well as enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue, the plaza adds a much-needed parcel of green space to the downtown cultural corridor and makes the area more pedestrian-friendly. On its western end, the plaza will feature an adjacent restaurant that is being developed by The Broad in partnership with Bill Chait and his company Sprout.
In keeping with Eli and Edythe Broad’s longstanding support of the arts and their commitment to making contemporary art available to all, The Broad will host an ambitious series of public programs. In addition to the upcoming Sky-lit, The Broad has held a number of pre-opening events, including a series of art talks started in 2013 titled The Un-Private Collection, featuring artists whose works are represented in the collection in conversation with recognized cultural leaders. These public discussions included Mark Bradford with Katy Siegel, Shirin Neshat with Christy MacLear, Jeff Koons with John Waters, Takashi Murakami with Pico Iyer, Eric Fischl with Steve Martin, John Currin with James Cuno and Kara Walker with Ava DuVernay.