Situated directly across from Frank Gehry’s masterful Walt Disney Concert Hall lies the latest addition to LA’s line-up of art institutions, The Broad (pronounced as “brode”). The 120,000-square-foot space was built from a $140 million gift by Eli and Edythe Broad to house their 2,000-piece collection of postwar and contemporary art—featuring works by Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtentstein and Cindy Sherman to name a few.
To provide the artworks with the sanctuary they deserve, the Broads teamed up with New York-based architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design around the concept of “vault and veil.” The result is a cold, concrete inner core—protecting the entirety of the collection either in storage or on display–encapsulated by a bright, perforated outer facade with a singular “oculus” window to break up its honeycomb-like pattern. Some 2,500 fiberglass panels, 650 tons of steel and 36 million pounds of concrete were hauled in to assemble the three-story structure, which now stands as an artwork on its own. Its doors officially opened on 20 September to the Los Angeles community—and to visitors from around the world.
Accompanying The Broad’s inaugural exhibition is one of their latest acquisitions—Yayoi Kusama’s famed (and much-Instagrammed) Infinity Mirrored Room titled “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” As it can only accommodate one person at a time for 45 seconds each, the wait to view the installation can reach upwards of three hours, but it’s worth it. The room itself is lined with reflective surfaces, which bounce multicolored LED lights off into darkness, creating visuals both brilliant and serene. For many, it’s the main reason for visiting, and a glance at Broad-based Instagrams might give the impression that it’s the only artwork on display. But, of course, there’s plenty more to explore here.
Other highlights include works by Tokyo-based artist Takashi Murakami and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Murakami brings both painting and sculpture to The Broad with his 82-foot long mural “In the land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tails of a Rainbow” and cartoonish fiberglass figures “Dob in the Strange Forest.” The former explores Japan’s history with natural disaster through intricate and colorful acrylic brush strokes, spanning the lengths of two different walls. Kjartansson’s installation “The Visitors” employs completely different mediums—video and sound—to bring together a one-take musical performance filmed in New York’s historic Rokeby Farm. Multiple screens project nine musicians as they play their instruments in separate rooms of the estate, culminating in an enthralling group sing-a-long by the 64-minute-long performance’s end.
While a date has not been specified, The Broad‘s inaugural exhibition will close sometime in 2016. The museum is located at 221 S Grand Ave in Los Angeles, California and admission is free.
Images by Kevin Serai