For the first time in its 40-year history, the postwar and contemporary art collection assembled by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad will be shown to the public in its most comprehensive installation when The Broad opens on September 20. Although many of the artworks in the internationally renowned 2,000-piece collection have been seen by the public in relative isolation through The Broad Art Foundation’s 30-year lending library to museums around the world, the inaugural installation at The Broad’s new landmark building on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles will feature a sweeping, chronological journey through its contemporary art collection that has never before been possible in such depth.
For the first time in its 40-year history, the postwar and contemporary art collection assembled by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad will be shown to the public in its most comprehensive installation when The Broad opens on September 20.
Although many of the artworks in the internationally renowned 2,000-piece collection have been seen by the public in relative isolation through The Broad Art Foundation’s 30-year lending library to museums around the world, the inaugural installation at The Broad’s new landmark building on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles will feature a sweeping, chronological journey through its contemporary art collection that has never before been possible in such depth.
Founding Director Joanne Heyler, who is curating the inaugural installation, has selected more than 250 works—by over 60 artists including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger and Kara Walker— that best represent the Broad collection’s view of a half century of contemporary art.
The three-story museum, designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, features 50,000 square feet of exhibition space on two floors. The inaugural installation will begin on the third floor, with its soaring 23-foot-high ceiling, filtered natural light and 35,000 square feet of column-free gallery space, giving visitors a constant and unobstructed view of the 318 skylights overhead. The third-floor installation presents a chronological journey from the 1950s through the 1990s, punctuated throughout by single- artist galleries. The installation will begin with classic 1960s works by Andy Warhol, as well as a luminous gallery of Cy Twombly painting and sculpture, and will track the Broad collection’s strengths through the decades. The installation continues in the first-floor galleries, bringing the journey through contemporary art to the present with some of the most recent acquisitions and artworks such as Yayoi Kusama’s immersive Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away and a colorful, epic 82-foot-long painting by Takashi Murakami, a meditation on the recovery of Japan from the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
“This installation is an incredible opportunity to highlight the collection’s breadth and demonstrate in full force the Broads’ nearly five-decade engagement with art,” Heyler said. “We are not only able to present exciting moments of the collection’s well-known depth in artists like Twombly, Lichtenstein, Koons, and Warhol, but we also have explored interconnections between artists, and are showing works not previously associated with the collection and shared for the first time with Los Angeles audiences, including many of our most recent acquisitions.”
The Broad museum, on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles; photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The monographic galleries reflect the collection’s historic deep holdings in classic Pop art of the 1960s, notably Andy Warhol, featuring his 1962 Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Pepper Pot), and Roy Lichtenstein’s 1965-66 I...I’m Sorry! and his 1968-69 five-canvas panel Rouen Cathedral, Set 3. The third-floor galleries will also feature works dating from the 1970s by Richard Artschwager and Chuck Close. Concentrated installations of art from New York’s East Village and Soho scenes of the 1980s reflect the Broads’ passionate immersion in that era as collectors. Highlights from the collection’s incomparable paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat are prominently featured, as are strong representations by Cindy Sherman, drawn from The Broad’s largest collection in the world of her works; Sherrie Levine, including Fountain (Buddha), 1996, her appropriated version in cast bronze of the porcelain urinal that Marcel Duchamp famously and notoriously exhibited in 1917 as Fountain; Barbara Kruger’s iconic Untitled (Your body is a battleground) from 1989; as well as works by Jack Goldstein and others.
Artists whose work came to the fore in the 1990s include Glenn Ligon, Andreas Gursky and Julie Mehretu, all of whom have significant representations in the inaugural exhibition. A recent work by Mehretu, Cairo, 2013, a vast, swirling, ink-and-acrylic representation of the architecture, atmosphere and social dynamism of the Egyptian capital during the political turbulence of the Arab Spring, is featured in the large entry gallery on the third floor.
Works from the 1980s and 1990s highlight the Broads’ intensive and sustained engagement with artworks containing tough social and political content, found in the work of artists like David Wojnarowicz, Cady Noland, Kara Walker, Anselm Kiefer and Mike Kelley. The collection’s abiding interest in sometimes biting, confrontational imagery critical of some of the most traumatic passages and challenging issues in American and European modern history plays a major role in the installation. Anselm Kiefer’s masterwork Deutschlands Geisteshelden, addressing the recovery of Germany from the ravages of World War II, is shown in relationship with German artist Joseph Beuys’ multiples, selected from the Broad’s 570-work Beuys multiples collection, the most comprehensive set of these key works in the Western U.S.
Galleries on the 15,000-square-foot first floor focus almost exclusively on the collection’s most recent artworks, dating from 2000 to the present—many of which will have their debut showing
in Los Angeles. Those works include Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, 2013, a mirror- lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display; Robert Longo’s 2014 charcoal drawing Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014), of police protests in Ferguson, Mo.; and The Visitors, 2012, by Ragnar Kjartansson, a 360-degree, nine-screen video projection that surrounds the viewer with images of the artist and his musician friends performing within different rooms of a derelict historic mansion, a highly poignant contemplation on collaboration and the creative process.
“As vast as the inaugural installation is, very few galleries show the full depth of our holdings in the work of any given artist,” said Heyler. “This gives the public just a hint at the totality of the collection—and a reason to come back many times to see fresh rotations, new acquisitions and more in-depth special exhibitions.”
About the Broad Collection
The Broad collection includes The Broad Art Foundation and The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, which together hold 2,000 works of postwar and contemporary art. With a strong desire to advance public appreciation for contemporary art, the Broads established The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 as a way to keep these works in the public domain through an enterprising loan program that makes the art available for exhibition at accredited institutions throughout the world. The Broads continue to actively add to the collection through strategic acquisitions focused on expanding the representations of an artist’s work and broadening the scope of the collection. The result is a lending library of contemporary art and an expansive collection that is regularly cited as among the top in the world.
About The Broad
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, will open September 20, 2015 with free general admission. The museum will be home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.
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