Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Broad for sharing your art collection with the masses. Seriously people, here’s the backstory; all that art in the Broad Museum belong to Eli and Edythe’s personal art collection. Personal, like, in their house where only their friends and guest could see it. And what a collection it is. Now, everyone has access to their art. That’s so cool. It’s awesome to know you can enter a museum for free and see incredible artwork by some of the world’s finest artist. The lines are currently long since the grand opening in October but it’s worth the trip and the long wait. You have to check it out.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to navigate your way through downtown LA, you will notice a curious looking building that doesn’t seem to fit in with the looming sky scrapers and shimmery Disney Concert Hall next door. This unique (dare I say odd) building structure with its pale honeycomb-like modules stacked upon one another looks more like it’s about to take off into outer space then to house art. When you ask your cool, local LA friends about the building they will politely inform you that it is called The Broad, displaying pop art works belonging to twice over billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, yes you heard right, he’s a multibillionaire.
Remember the beloved pop art movement, when Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell Soup Can took off? Well, Eli Broad just happened to have one of those in his collection (which he was able to later sell for $11mil in 2006) but nonetheless, the pop art scene began to emerge, with its popularity never waning even today. It would only makes sense that when you are a multibillionaire, holding on to all this cool art, you would need a museum to store it all in I suppose, but we are grateful that it is being shared with the public.
As it turns out, Broad himself has had a long history of sharing his good fortune with others over his lifetime. Even now into his eighties, Broad has personally committed to giving 75% of his wealth away and has invested millions into urban education systems, all while helping develop Los Angeles into a “cultural capital of the world”. Get this, the Disney Hall almost didn’t get built but due to Broad’s generous nature, he was able to step in to see it to completion. Broad is also no stranger to being the driving force behind many innovative and creative public institutions centered around downtown, the newest addition of The Broad is no exception.
The museum utilized the innovative concept which architects deem the “veil and vault” concept. The outer exterior of the museum is considered the ‘veil’, hiding the fact that there is a huge warehouse of art not on display within, which is a creative photographers dream (make sure to get there early). The ‘vault’ is holding private works not on display within which was incorporated into the museum’s design, along with a large porthole known as “The Oculus” which allows visitors to sneak a peek. With over 2,000 pieces on display, with new art being added almost every day, it’s worth the trek even if that includes circling around for parking in downtown or brushing past skid row panhandlers, along with standing in lines with people from all over the world to get in but you won’t be disappointed.
As news of rising housing prices are pushing out the very artists that contributed to the creative art district in downtown LA, it’s refreshing to see that Broad generously has kept investing in giving LA a gem for generations to experience. Plus it’s free. We can only hope that the creative juices which produced some of the most iconic art pieces in the world won’t be forgotten.