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Huge crowds expected for downtown Broad Museum opening

Billionaire Eli Broad’s $140 million shrine to his 2,000-piece contemporary art collection in downtown Los Angeles is expected to draw large crowds in its opening weeks, with the chief curator saying today at least 85,000 tickets have already been reserved prior to the museum’s Sunday grand opening.

The Broad museum showed signs of its potential popularity earlier this
month when its ticketing website crashed, apparently overwhelmed by patrons
enticed by the museum’s striking architecture, free admission and extensive art

The Broad permanently houses a collection — featuring works by artists
such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Takashi Murakami —
that Broad and his wife, Edye, have been lending out to other venues all over
the world for the past 30 years, curator and founding director Joanne Heyler

Heyler described the museum as the Broads’ “gift to L.A.” and “the
latest and most profound expansion of one couple’s passionate curiosity for art
and the result of their determination to make it available to everyone.”

The Broad’s inaugural exhibit was met earlier this week by a lukewarm
review in the New York Times, with the critic describing the museum and its
collection as “old-fashioned.” Heyler made no direct mention of the less-than-
glowing review, but said she intentionally chose a “straightforward, wide-lens
chronological approach” to showing off the Broads’ art collection.

She cast the museum as an opportunity to offer a comprehensive look at a
collection that has only “been seen in fragments over the years.”

Heyler added that the collection includes a “deep concentration” of
pop art from the 1950s and 1960s, providing “a truly unique opportunity to
experience these rare master works free.”

The 82-year-old Broad, who amassed his $7 billion fortune through his
real estate business, said the art collection was built over a nearly 50-year
period and fueled by an interest in art acquisition that became “not only a
passion, but also an addiction.”

Broad said he and his wife have made 8,000 loans to “500 different
museums and galleries on every continent” through an art foundation they set
up in 1984 to make their collection publicly available.

Broad said he felt it was particularly important for the museum to bring
more recent art to a wider audience.

“Contemporary art is the art of our time,” he said. “It reflects an
important social, political and social commentary on the world which we live.”

To illustrate this point, Broad cited familiar Warhol pieces depicting
pop culture icons like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, and Barbara
Kruger’s feminist statement piece “Your Body is a Battleground” that served
as “a symbol of the 1980s women’s march on Washington.”

Also on display is a charcoal drawing by Robert Longo showing a hazy
scene of riot police in Ferguson, Missouri, providing commentary that is
especially relevant in the present day, Broad said.

Broad and others highlighted the museum’s architecture, which has the
task of measuring up to its neighbor, the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney
Concert Hall.

Broad said museum planners initially wondered how they would “design a
building that doesn’t clash with Frank Gehry’s masterpiece but also is not

Their answer came in the form of a design by the firm Diller
Scofidio+Renfro that features a white, latticed exterior wrapped around a cool
subterranean-like interior.

Architect Elizabeth Diller said the “porous and matte” feel of The
Broad creates a “relationship of contrasts” with its neighbor’s “smooth and
shiny” attributes.

All 2,000 or so pieces of The Broad’s collection, with the exception of
a life-sized fire truck, are locked away inside a “vault” that appears
suspended at the center of the three-story building, a departure from the
practice by other museums of storing collections in off-site warehouses.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said The Broad is the “crown” of a thriving city
center. He hailed the museum as another reminder that Los Angeles is the
“contemporary art capital of the world,” as Broad described it many years

Garcetti said that view raised the eyebrows of his New York friends at
the time, but “now, I think very few dispute that the best creators are

Once open to the public, The Broad, at 221 S. Grand Ave., will be open
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on
Thursdays and Fridays. The museum is open at 10 a.m. on weekends, closing at 8
p.m. on Saturdays, and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays,
Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Article Name
Huge crowds expected for downtown Broad Museum opening
Billionaire Eli Broad's $140 million shrine to his 2,000-piece contemporary art collection in downtown Los Angeles is expected to draw large crowds in its opening weeks, with the chief curator saying today at least 85,000 tickets have already been reserved prior to the museum's Sunday grand opening.

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