Glendale College's Student Magazine
Wednesday August 23rd 2017

Review: The Broad (you should go)

The Broad_photo by Iwan Baan_3829The Broad in downtown LA is the city’s seventh and newest art museum, and packs a truly unique art viewing experience.  The building, open since September 2015, is a $140 million dollar, bone-white honeycomb spaceship that on any given day displays 250 works of postwar and contemporary art from the 2,000-piece collection of mogul-philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. The couple placed their namesake museum across Grand street from the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Broad is the next step in the couple’s plan to turn downtown’s Bunker Hill area into an international culture hub.  

Starting June 11 and ending in October, the Broad will display a new temporary exhibit by famed New York City artist Cindy Sherman that will occupy almost all of the museum’s first floor. So, in preparation for your visit, here are a few things you should know:

Admission is Free: Unlike the $12 entrance fee at the MOCA, the multibillionaire Broad does not need your money. The parking lot under the Broad however is $12 with validation and $22 if you stay longer than three hours. Admission to the Cindy Sherman exhibit is another $12.

Order in Advance or Wait in Line:  Advance tickets for August are available starting July 1. For September, they’re available August 1, and so on. But if you want to go today, just park and wait in a line, 15-45 minutes, and bring a hat.

The Architecture is Awesome: From the outside, the Broad looks like a futuristic government ministry for an advanced civilization many light years away. Once inside, the lobby’s grey, undulating walls give the feeling you’re in a cavern burrowed deep inside the earth. Portals lead you to the first floor exhibits, the gift shop and an escalator to the great unknown above.

Kusama_Infinity Mirrored RoomThe Infinity Mirrored Room is Unforgettable: You will have 45 seconds alone in this LED-lit experience designed by veteran expressionist artist Yayoi Kusama. Fight the urge to take a photo or video and rather feel the power of seeing millions of your own reflection standing in a dream sequence universe of lights and nothingness.  

Cindy Sherman Shines: In her first exhibition in LA in two decades, “Imitation of Life” features Sherman herself in photographs that mock stereotypes of beauty and celebrity in popular media. With expertly extravagant makeup and exaggerated emotional states, her collections titled, “Hollywood/Hamptons,” “Centerfolds,” and “History Portraits” showcase the fabrication of femininity and the melodrama inherent in images of the cultural elite. She is Lady Gaga airing pop culture’s dirty laundry.

It’s a Truly LA Experience: You can digest the art in the Broad over a 90-minute lunch break. From the first floor, the 105-foot long escalator through an opaque, gray portal transports you to the expansive 3rd floor gallery, where filtered natural light enlivens the clean, white walls that divide up rooms where things are BIG.  

The Broad_photo by Hufton+Crow_037Once off the escalator in the main room, you’re welcomed by the 82-foot mural titled, “In the Land of the Dead,” by Takashi Murakami. It conjures a mythic narrative of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the room behind you lives the imposing, ten-foot-tall “Balloon Dog (Blue)” by Jeff Koons, which your eyes won’t believe is stainless steel.  

The rooms to your right house the requisite pop art, silk-screening and monoprints by the giants of modern art: Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. In the same corner, Ellsworth Kelly’s 19-foot long, free-floating “Green Angle,” a bright green boomerang without frame or brushstrokes, invites you to meditate in front of its simplicity of color and shape. In the room to your left, all the way in the back, sit the massive table and chairs titled, “Under the Table,” which send you back to a time of childhood wonder.

Reviews Have Been Mixed: Some bigtime art critics claim the Broad’s “sweeping, chronological journey” doesn’t quite gel…that the unimaginative march of blue chip pieces makes the galleries feel ordinary, choppy and uninspired…that the architectural excitement of the building represses the poignancy of the display. Other visitors bemoan the museum’s lack of cafe or nearby, affordable option for coffee or a quick snack.  

Admittedly art lovers may leave the Broad without that enlightened feeling that stays with us after hours in one of the world’s great cultural institutions like the MOMA in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, The Tate in London, or the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.

Regardless, appreciation of art is most often a solitary experience that leaves widely varying effects on different viewers. A visitor to the Broad has over 200 opportunities to have a work of art jump off a wall and grab their soul.  

Basquiat_UntitledThe Diverse Array Has Something for Everyone: Keith Haring’s “Red Room,” initially a red jumble of quirky, Picasso-like shapes may, in slow waves, bring the lounging woman and her bedroom accouterments to life with a reach the artist’s intended, pulsating energy. “Skull” by New York-based Haitian-Puerto Rican whiz kid, Jean Michel Basquiat, will take you inside the mind of someone living America’s tortured minority experience. The soft, faded, dusty feel of Richard Artschwager’ print, “Destruction V” depicting the 1972 controlled demolition of Atlantic City’s Traymore Hotel may evoke the same feelings one remembers from watching the twin towers fall on September 11th.  

Los Angelenos owe it to themselves to find their own specific source of inspiration in the Broad’s wide collection.  

Eli Broad is Revitalizing LA: The New York Times says Eli Broad has “arguably more impact shaping the city’s cultural identity than anyone else in recent times.” Born in the Bronx, Broad moved to Detroit and, with a partner, turned a tiny home-building outfit, KB Homes, into an empire. After moving to LA he transformed a small insurance company into a retirement savings powerhouse and sold it (SunAmerica) to AIG for $18 billion. Broad and his wife, already noted art collectors, then looked to turning downtown Los Angeles into a hub of urban vitality.

Broad in 1979 helped co-found the MOCA. In the mid-1990’s he helped turn the Hammer Museum in Westwood into a thriving institution. In the mid-2000’s he breathed new life into the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) before going back to the MOCA in 2008 and rescuing it from bankruptcy.

Therrien_UnderThe Broad Museum sits in Bunker Hill where Mr. Broad instituted the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project that turned three blocks of government-owned parking lots into housing, shops, a hotel, a park and a 19-story luxury condo tower. To aid walking traffic to and from museums, he widened the sidewalks by six feet, financed a crosswalk and stoplight on Grand Avenue, and designed a grassy plaza to run alongside the museum building. Mr. Broad’s future plans for LA include a movie museum, a redesign of the LACMA and an additional 100,000-square-foot art space.

Broad has already done so much for art in the city, it’s fitting one of LA’s major art installations bears his name, not only as a testament to what he’s done, but also as a sign of things to come.

The Broad Museum is located at 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Monday  |  CLOSED

Tuesday  |  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday  |  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday  |  11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday  |  11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday  |  10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday  |  10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

 

About Brent Giannotta
Brent Giannotta is a continuing student at GCC who is fascinated by issues of gender, race and relationships. He previously worked as a political analyst in Washington DC and is slowly building a career as a writer.

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