The Broad is a contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. Opened since 2015, 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.
The museum is named for philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, who financed the $140 million building which houses the Broad art collections. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. The Broad is home to 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art.
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. The museum offers free general admission to its permanent collection galleries, and presents an active program of rotating temporary exhibitions and innovative audience engagement
Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked in close collaboration with Arup on the design of The Broad, helping showcase a “veil-and-vault” concept. This concept removes the normal museum archive and storage area as a place where items go to never be seen again, and instead transforms it into a heavy opaque mass that is always in view, hovering midway in the building. The vault is surrounded by the “veil,” an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans across the gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.
The 120,000-square-foot building features two floors of gallery space and is the headquarters of The Broad’s comprehensive collections and was the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library, which has been loaning collection works to museums around the world since 1984. The Broad welcomes more than 900,000 visitors from around the world per year.
The Broad is also building a 24,000-square-foot public plaza adjacent to the museum to add another parcel of critical green space to Grand Avenue, include a new restaurant being developed by restaurateur Bill Chait, a new mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk connecting The Broad and public plaza with MOCA and the Colburn School and additional streetscape improvements. The plaza’s bosque of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees and grass create public space for picnics, outdoor films, performances and educational events.
The Broad is housed in a new building designed by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and structural engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates. With a location adjacent to Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, the museum’s design is intended to contrast with its bright metallic perforated exterior while respecting its architectural presence by having a porous, “honeycomblike” exterior.
The building design is based on a concept entitled “the veil and the vault”. “The veil” is a porous envelope that wraps the whole building, filtering and transmitting daylight to the indoor space. This skin is made of 2,500 rhomboidal panels made in fiberglass reinforced concrete supported by a 650-ton steel substructure. “The vault” is a concrete body which forms the core of the building, dedicated to artworks storage, laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices.
The three-story museum features 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of exhibition space on two floors, with 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2) of column-free gallery space on the third floor and 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) more on the first. The roof has 318 skylight monitors that let in diffused sunlight from the north. In the non-Euclidean lobby, there is no front desk; instead, visitor-services associates greet guests with mobile devices. Lobby and exhibitions spaces are connected by a 105-foot escalator and a glass-enclosed elevator.
Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key components of the building: public exhibition space and collection storage. Rather than relegate the storage to secondary status, the “vault,” plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit. Its heavy opaque mass is always in view, hovering midway in the building. Its carved underside shapes the lobby below, while its top surface is the floor plate of the exhibition space. The vault stores the portions of the collection not on display in the galleries or on loan, but DS+R provided viewing windows so visitors can get a sense of the intensive depth of the collection and peer right into the storage holding.
The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight. The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into an active lobby. The public is then drawn upwards via escalator, tunneling through the vault, arriving onto nearly an acre of column-free gallery space bathed in diffuse light.
The gallery has 23- foot-high ceilings, and the roof is supported by 7-foot-deep steel girders. Departure from the third floor gallery space is a return trip through the vault via a winding central stair that offers glimpses into the vast holdings of the collection. The top floor gallery is illuminated by expansive north-facing skylight clerestories and a fully-shaded glazed east wall. Arup assisted with the Building Information Modelling (BIM) of the building services in the roof and lobby ceilings. This allowed for seamless integration of sprinklers, sensors, shading devices, conduit, and electric lighting into the architectural aesthetic.
The architecture also Combined energy savings strategies. These included utilising the architectural “veil” as an external shading device, daylight harvesting, occupancy-based control of lighting, variable frequency drives on large HVAC motors, demand control ventilation, carbon monoxide control of garage fans, and the use of low-energy ultrasonic humidifiers.
The building’s energy use, projected to be lower than the current California Energy Code requirements by at least 20%, and the museum was named Daylight Project of the Year at the 2016 Lighting Design Awards. Engineering News-Record also awarded it a Northern California Best Project award in the Cultural/Worship category and named it Southern California’s 2016 Project of Year.
Eli and Edythe Broad built their collection of postwar and contemporary art over the last 50 years. Believing that the greatest art collections are built when the art is being made, the Broads took to collecting art of their own time.
The Broad houses a nearly 2,000-piece collection of contemporary art, and is one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art. The collection featuring 200 artists. The collection features in-depth holdings of influential contemporary artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Takashi Murakami, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and more, plus an ever-growing representation of younger artists.
The Broads suggested in 2015 that it was acquiring the “Single Elvis” which sent the price of pop art to unprecedented levels. Other notable installations include Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), Ragnar Kjartansson’s expansive nine-screen video The Visitors (2012), Julie Mehretu’s 24-feet-wide canvas Beloved (Cairo) (2013), and Goshka Macuga’s photo-tapestry Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite (2013). With currently 129 pieces, the museum owns the largest collection of Cindy Sherman works worldwide.
The Broad’s inaugural installation was a predominantly chronological selection of masterworks from the Broad collection. The installation wasgin 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 – was represented through works by Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol, among others.
In the theme “Moving into the 1980s”, the installation present a rich concentration of works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring, Barbara Kruger, and Jeff Koons. The installation continue up through the present, with works including Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room–The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away and an immersive, nine-screen video installation, The Visitors, by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.
Since Unveiling: Selected Acquisitions of a Decade
Ten years ago, Eli and Edythe Broad announced the plans for this museum, to share their collection with the public in perpetuity. More than fifty years in the making, the collection, one of the most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art worldwide, is the cornerstone of The Broad. Since Unveiling highlights artworks that have entered the Broad collection in the last decade with some as recently as this year. The fifty-three works on view by twenty-seven artists represent many facets of contemporary art, from explorations of abstraction and figuration to examinations of place, identity, and narrative. Many works witness, critique, and interpret current events, speaking to politics and power structures.
Featured artists include John Baldessari, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker, whom The Broad has collected over decades, as well as artists added to the collection this past decade, including Tauba Auerbach, Kerry James Marshall, Catherine Opie, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Charline von Heyl. The exhibition features a selection of both monographic and thematic galleries, including a dedicated presentation of works by Cindy Sherman spanning the artist’s career; the nine-channel HD video projection of Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors; a gallery with works by Gregory Crewdson, Shirin Neshat, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn that use portraiture to explore loss and longing; explorations of political power and commerce with works by Mark Bradford and Andreas Gursky; and works by Julie Mehretu and Robert Longo that take on both global struggle and protest.
The artworks on display represent a fraction of the works acquired during the past ten years. Others are on loan to institutions around the globe or stored in the second floor “vault” at the museum. As the collection grows and evolves into the future, The Broad was guided by the long precedent set by Eli Broad, who collected art over five decades by following so many artists’ journeys with curiosity, intensity, and ultimately, a public purpose.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms
Longing for Eternity is located on the third floor of The Broad, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is the first institutional survey to explore the celebrated Japanese artist’s immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms. This exhibition embark on the most significant North American tour of her work in nearly two decades, and The Broad was the only California museum to host the exhibition. The timing is right for an exhibition that contextualizes the Infinity Mirror Rooms and brings Kusama’s contributions to 20th and 21st century art into deeper focus.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors provide visitors with the unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s infinity rooms—the artist’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments—alongside large-scale installations and key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present, which contextualize the foundational role the concept of infinity has played in the artist’s work over many decades and through diverse media. The traveling exhibition marks the North American debut of numerous new works by the 88-year-old artist, who is still actively creating in her Tokyo studio. These include large-scale, vibrantly colored paintings and her most recent infinity room, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016.
This installation is a mirror-lined room with flashing LED lights that you physically enter with a door that closes behind you. If you are uncomfortable with flashing lights and/or enclosed, dark spaces, please bypass this experience.
An outcome of sustained and ongoing engagement with artists and artwork, the Broad collection is distinctive in its exceptional dedication to the full arc of artists’ careers. The Broad has highlighted this depth through expansive presentations in the third floor galleries, featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, and Christopher Wool, along with works by many others.
An in-depth installation of Andy Warhol, features 26 works (11 on view for the first time at The Broad), including 40 Gold Marilyns (1980), and a major new acquisition, Liz [Early Colored Liz] (1963). Liz [Early Colored Liz] is a celebrated work featuring a silkscreened image of Elizabeth Taylor, who represented both celebrity and beauty as well as tragedy for the artist.
Kara Walker features all ten artworks by the artist in the Broad collection, including six on view for the first time at The Broad. The Broad debut two new acquisitions by Walker. Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions (2004) is the artist’s first video work, and The White Power ‘Gin / Machine to Harvest the Nativist Instinct for Beneficial Uses to Border Crossers Everywhere (2019) is a work on paper that includes a large triptych and a series of 12 small drawings.
In The White Power ‘Gin / Machine to Harvest the Nativist Instinct for Beneficial Uses to Border Crossers Everywhere, Walker develops a narrative of a laboratory where white bodies are drained of racist thinking; their racism is harvested and repurposed as energy to benefit “Border Crossers Everywhere.”
Christopher Wool features 15 works, 13 of which are on view for the first time at The Broad. The works on view in this expansive presentation span from 1985 to 2015, including iconic works that use text, roller paintings, and recent works using digital manipulation, including:
Untitled (1991) – a work that reproduces a quote from Situationist writer Raoul Vaneigem, which Wool found in Lipstick Traces, a book by rock music critic Greil Marcus. I Smell a Rat (1994) – a pivotal work for the artist, in which he began reusing his own work as an image bank for generating paintings. Untitled (2015) – a recent painting in which Wool uses digital methods.
Roy Lichtenstein features 22 artworks, with nearly half on view for the first time, including Purist Still Life (1975), Female Figure (1979), Two Paintings: Radiator and Folded Sheets (1984), and Nude with Pyramid (1994).
Jean-Michel Basquiat features all 13 works by the artist in the Broad collection, including three works on view for the first time at The Broad: Santo 2 (1982), Deaf (1984), and Wicker (1984).
The museum includes a free-standing restaurant on its plaza, Otium – Latin for “leisure time” – which Eli Broad developed with Bill Chait of République and Bestia restaurants. It features Timothy Hollingsworth, a former head chef of The French Laundry in Napa Valley, as executive chef. In September 2015, Isolated Elements, 2015, a photographic mural by the artist Damien Hirst was installed on the south facade of the restaurant; it measures nearly 84 feet by 32 feet and is based on Hirst’s 1991 sculpture Isolated Elements Swimming in the Same Direction for the Purpose of Understanding, a wall-mounted cabinet filled with fish preserved in formaldehyde.
The museum is also home to The Broad Art Foundation, which was created in 1984 as a pioneering lending library dedicated to increasing public access to contemporary art through an enterprising loan program. The foundation has made more than 8,500 loans to over 500 museums and galleries around the world.
Eli Broad was a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist who is the only person to found two Fortune 500 companies in different industries, SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home, formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation, and who co-founded with his wife Edythe the Broad contemporary art museum.
Eli and Edythe Broad were devoted to philanthropy as founders of The Broad Foundations, which they established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. Today, Edythe Broad continues this visionary work. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $3 billion. The Broad Art Foundation has provided over 500 museums and university galleries worldwide with more than 8,700 loans of artwork since 1984.
Through the foundations, the Broads created groundbreaking independent institutions in each of their three areas of grantmaking, including The Broad Center, which develops leaders to help transform America’s urban public schools; The Broad Institute, a global leader in genomics; and The Broad, which was founded in 2015 as a gift to the city of Los Angeles and is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to the widest possible audience.
As of 2014, The Broad’s endowment is at $200 million, thereby larger than any museum in Los Angeles except for the Getty Museum. The museum offer mostly free admission to the public, but charge for temporary special exhibitions.
Besides Eli and Edythe Broad, the Broad’s Board of Governance also includes art dealer Irving Blum, Los Angeles Philharmonic CEO Deborah Borda, restaurateur Michael Chow, businessman Bruce Karatz, and former ambassador Robert H. Tuttle, among others. The museum’s director is art historian Joanne Heyler.