The Broad: Los Angeles’s Newest Contemporary Art Museum
What’s all the buzz?
That buzz you’ve been hearing may not be that of an invasion of killer bees. It’s more likely the invasion of killer art. Which would be all the talk generated by the opening of Los Angeles’s newest major museum, The Broad (rhymes with “road”). Just over a year old, the Broad took five years to create the 50,000 square feet of gallery space, cost $140 million, and houses the impressive contemporary art collection of billionaire philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. A bee on the wall at the museum’s opening gala would have encountered attendees Bill Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, and art world stars John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, and Takashi Murakami. Our brief tour starts now.
Where is The Broad located?
Downtown Los Angeles, which is increasingly becoming a cultural and cool place.
221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
The Broad website
More specifically, The Broad is across the street from both the Museum of Contemporary Art and the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall and Music Center.
Who are Eli and Edythe Broad?
Husband and wife billionaire philanthropists. Eli Broad, by the way, is №185 on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, which estimates his net worth at $7.4 billion. Their generosity across the areas of education reform, scientific and medical research, the arts, and civic endeavors in their hometown of Los Angeles has been enabled by Eli Broad’s five-decade career in business, building two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up. He is the founder of both SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home (formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation). Tireless advocates of Los Angeles, the Broads have championed the cultural and architectural vitality of the city.
What’s exactly is inside?
The museum is home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. Modern Art masterpieces abound, with works from iconic figures as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Damien Hirst, Sharon Lockhart, Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, plus an ever-growing representation of younger artists.
The Broad’s App
The Broad’s app features easy-to-use, highly-detailed biographies of the artists and descriptions of its important art pieces, many with audio commentary. Bring your own headphones. Several of the works have commentary exclusively for children. Plus, you don’t have to be at the museum to browse the app and learn about the art and artists. Among the features of the app are audio tours that can be taken as multi-stop tours or used just for individual stops in the 50,000 square feet of gallery space. The four initial tours available will be “Artists-on-Artists,” a tour featuring collection artists talking about pieces in the Broad collection by other artists including Barbara Kruger on Kara Walker’s African’t, John Baldessari on Sherrie Levine’s Fountain (Buddha), and Sterling Ruby on Christopher Wool’s Why?, among others; a collection highlights tour with commentary by founders Eli and Edythe Broad and founding director Joanne Heyler; an architecture tour featuring Elizabeth Diller, partner-in-charge at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm that designed The Broad; and “Looking with LeVar,” a family audio tour, narrated by award-winning actor, director, and education advocate LeVar Burton.
The Gallery Staff
Knowledgeable staffers can help with detailed descriptions of the art and museum, as well as places to go and things to do afterwards. If necessary, they can even tell you not to touch the art.
None! It’s free, though advance reservations for timed tickets are advised for the foreseeable future. A reported 100,000 people have already signed up. Get yours here. Parking in the museum’s garage costs $12 for three hours, with lower priced options nearby.
Visitors are welcome to take photographs of the collection for personal use unless otherwise noted. Drawing with pencil in the galleries is also permitted with sketchbooks no larger than 11x17 inches. Visitors are asked to not use flashes, tripods, video cameras, easels, or selfie sticks.
The Broad’s Mission
Its mission statement: “The Broad makes its collection of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present accessible to the widest possible audience by presenting exhibitions and operating a lending program to art museums and galleries worldwide. By actively building a dynamic collection that features in-depth representations of influential contemporary artists and by advancing education and engagement through exhibitions and diverse public programming, the museum enriches, provokes, inspires, and fosters appreciation of art of our time.”
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