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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Broad Art Foundation Museum with a Honeycomb “Veil”

January 7th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and architect Elizabeth Diller today unveiled the designs of The Broad Art Foundation, a contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.  Designed by world-renowned architects Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, the three-story museum features a unique porous honeycomb “veil” that wraps around the building and is visible through an expansive, top floor, sky-lit gallery that will be home to great works of contemporary art drawn from the 2,000-piece Broad Collections.

Exterior perspective from 2nd Street and Grand Avenue

Exterior perspective from 2nd Street and Grand Avenue

The Broads also announced a 12-member board of governors and the inaugural programming for the contemporary art museum, to be called “The Broad.”

“Today, we celebrate another important milestone – the creation of a new museum 40 years in the making,” said Eli Broad, who was flanked by more than 200 city and county officials and community leaders as he revealed the designs for The Broad at a press conference at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  “Grand Avenue is the cultural district for this great region of 15 million people. No other city in the world has such a concentration of visual and performing arts institutions and iconic architecture in a three-block radius. Edye and I can think of no better home for the public art collections we have assembled over the past 40 years.”

Located across the street from Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad will also serve as the headquarters for the foundation’s worldwide art lending library.  In addition to paying for the building, the Broads are funding the museum with a $200 million endowment – larger than the combined endowments of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and MOCA.  Joanne Heyler, the director/chief curator of The Broad Art Foundation, will also serve as director of the museum.

Featuring almost an acre of column-free gallery space, a lecture hall for up to 200 people, a ground floor multimedia gallery and a public lobby with display space and a museum shop, the 120,000-square-foot project will also include state-of-the-art archive, study and art storage space that will be available to scholars and curators who want to research works in the collection and borrow artworks for their institutions through The Broad Art Foundation.

Public lobby along Grand Avenue

Public lobby along Grand Avenue

Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key components of the building: public exhibition space and the archive/storage that will support The Broad Art Foundation’s lending activities.  Rather than relegate the archive/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 of the exhibition space.  The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, cellular exoskeleton structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.

The public entry to the museum will be on Grand Avenue and will complement the landscaped plaza to the south that is part of the Grand Avenue Project’s master plan.  The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into an active lobby with a bookshop and espresso bar.  Visitors will then journey upwards via an escalator, tunneling through the archive, arriving onto 40,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space bathed in diffuse light.  This 24-foot-high space is fully flexible to be shaped into galleries, according to the curatorial needs of each installation or exhibition. Visitors exit the exhibition space and descend back to the lobby through a winding stair through the vault that offers behind-the-scenes glimpses, through viewing windows, into the vast holdings of the Broad Collections and the foundation’s lending library operations.

Column-free, skylit gallery of the museum

Column-free, skylit gallery of the museum

“Our goal for the museum is to hold its ground next to Gehry’s much larger and very exuberant Walt Disney Concert Hall through contrast,” Diller said.  “As opposed to Disney Hall’s smooth and shiny exterior that reflects light, The Broad will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into its public spaces and galleries.  The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.”

Skylit gallery of the museum with art

Skylit gallery of the museum with art

The Broads also announced a 12-person board of governors who will oversee The Broad: William J. Bell, president of Bell-Phillip T.V. Productions, Inc.; Irving Blum, art collector; Deborah Borda, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; Michael Chow, owner of Mr. Chow Enterprises Ltd.; Paul Frimmer, counsel with Loeb & Loeb LLP; Howard Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital Management; Cindy Quane, senior financial adviser to The Broad Foundations; Robert H. Tuttle, former U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James’s; and Jay Wintrob, president and CEO of SunAmerica Financial Group, in addition to the Broads and Heyler.

“Today is about far more than a museum – it is a pivotal moment in the history of our City,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  “I would like to thank Eli Broad for his countless contributions to our City’s economic and cultural vitality.  The Broad Art Foundation will further boost downtown Los Angeles‘s standing as a vibrant cultural and civic center.  And with the Regional Connector that will link light rail lines from around Southern California, The Broad and Los Angeles‘s entire wealth of cultural offerings will be accessible to all Angelenos and millions of visitors from around the country.”

The inaugural exhibition when the museum opens in two years will feature 200 of the most iconic works from the Broad Collections, including many recent additions to the collection and works never seen before in Los Angeles.  The artists who will be represented include Doug Aitken, El Anatsui, John BaldessariJean Michel BasquiatMark Bradford, Joseph Beuys, Chuck CloseMarlene DumasSam FrancisEllen GallagherMark GrotjahnKeith HaringJenny HolzerJasper JohnsJeff Koons,Barbara KrugerGlenn LigonSharon LockhartTakashi MurakamiShirin Neshat, Cady Noland, Lari Pittman, Neo RauchRobert RauschenbergCharles RayEd RuschaCindy ShermanThomas StruthRobert TherrienCy TwomblyKara WalkerAndy Warhol, Christopher Wool, among many others.

For three years after the inaugural exhibition, The Broad will feature rotating exhibitions every four months, focusing on artists represented in distinctive depth in the collection, such as Jean-Michel BasquiatAndreas GurskyDamien HirstAnselm Kiefer,Jeff KoonsJasper JohnsRobert RauschenbergRoy LichtensteinCindy ShermanCy TwomblyAndy Warhol and Christopher Wool.

In addition to building and endowing the museum, the Broads are also advancing the funds to build a parking garage for the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The CRA will purchase the parking garage and operate it upon its completion. The total cost to construct the museum and parking garage will exceed $130 million.  The Broads have also paid $7.7 million to the CRA, which has earmarked the funds for affordable housing as part of the Grand Avenue project.

Construction of the three-story parking garage is planned to begin within the next 60 to 90 days.  The museum construction is anticipated to begin in late summer and be completed in two years.  The Santa Monica offices of Gensler will serve as the executive architect.

Among their notable and acclaimed works, Diller, Scofidio and Renfro has designed the renovation and expansion of Lincoln Center in New York City, the new Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston Harbor, and the innovative High Line park in lower Manhattan. Projects in progress include the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Archive, the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro, and an inflatable event space at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. The Creative Arts Center at Brown University will open next month.

In 1999-2004, the MacArthur Foundation presented Diller and Scofidio with the “genius” award for their interdisciplinary practice and commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture.  They were recently named International Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and both were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  For their contribution to art and design, Diller and Scofidio were named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009. Other prestigious awards and honors received by Diller Scofidio + Renfro include the National Design Award from the Smithsonian, the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of the Arts and Letters, the AIA President’s Award, the AIA Medal of Honor and numerous AIA Honor Awards for projects including Alice Tully Hall, the ICA and the High Line.

The Broads created The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 as a pioneering lending library for contemporary artworks.  Dedicated to increasing access to contemporary art for audiences worldwide, the foundation has made nearly 8,000 loans to 485 museums and galleries around the world. In addition to The Broad Art Foundation’s works, the loan program also makes available art from The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, for a total of more than 2,000 works by nearly 200 artists assembled over four decades of collecting. Together, the Broad Collections are among the most prominent and important collections of postwar and contemporary art in the world.

Among the artists represented in-depth in the Broad Collections are Joseph Beuys, Cindy ShermanJeff KoonsJohn Baldessari,Mike KelleyJean-Michel BasquiatEric FischlLeon GolubAndreas GurskyDamien HirstGlenn LigonSharon Lockhart, Lari Pittman, Charles RayEd RuschaPhilip TaaffeRobert TherrienAndy WarholTerry WintersChristopher WoolRichard ArtschwagerChuck CloseJasper JohnsEllsworth KellyRoy LichtensteinRobert RauschenbergFrank StellaCy Twombly andAndy Warhol.  The Broad Collections include the largest grouping of Cindy Sherman works in the world, one of the largest ofJeff Koons, the largest collection of Roy Lichtenstein‘s works outside the Lichtenstein Foundation, the only near-complete grouping of the 570-plus “multiples of Joseph Beuys in the Western U.S., and one of the most significant groupings of Christopher Wool paintings.

The Broads have demonstrated longstanding support of the arts, particularly in Los AngelesEli Broad was the founding chairman and is a life trustee of MOCA, to which the Broads gave a $30 million challenge grant in December 2008 to rebuild the museum’s endowment and to provide exhibition support. He is currently a trustee of The Museum of Modern Art in New Yorkand life trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the Broads gave a $60 million gift to build the Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which opened in February 2008, and to fund an art acquisitions budget.

Architectural rendering of the "veil"

Architectural rendering of the "veil"

The Broad Foundation made a major contribution to UCLA for The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, designed by Richard Meier. They gave $28 million to Michigan State UniversityEli Broad‘s Alma Mater, for the construction of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU, designed by Zaha Hadid and scheduled to open in 2012.

Architectural rendering of the major design components of the museum

Architectural rendering of the major design components of the museum

The Broad Foundations were established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation. The Broad Foundations’ Internet address is

  • Architects:Diller Scofidio + Renfro
  • Commissioned by: Eli and Edythe Broad
  • Project size: 40,000 sqft
  • Project year: 2011- 2014

Proofread by Natasha Gangal

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Category: Art Gallery

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