When Eli Broad and his wife Edythe began amassing their personal art collection their dream was to one day create a place where it could all be accessible to everyone. When their namesake museum, The Broad, opened in 2015 in Downtown Los Angeles, their dream came to fruition.
Today the museum, housed in a $140 million building financed by the Broads for the purpose of housing and displaying their massive collection, is giving everyone a chance to enjoy their massive collection and gain an appreciation for contemporary art. Entrance is free, making it a great place for families visiting Los Angeles to explore the world of art.
The building itself is a piece of contemporary art, ensuring your experience begins before you even enter the door. From the outside the building resembles a giant honeycomb, actually part of the building’s core design concept of “veil and vault.” The outside is designed as a covering for the interior core of the building, the vault, which houses the portion of the Broad’s enormous art collection not currently on display. The interior exhibit areas cover two floors of the museum with the core storage vault easily viewed from within the building’s center stairwell.
The collections inside encompass a wide variety of artist and mediums, causing even the most skeptical of art critic to stop and think. While visitors each have their own unique tastes when it comes to art, the Broad’s wide variety of exhibits guarantees there will be something for everyone, while giving everyone a chance to explore art they may not otherwise choose to look at. Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell soup can piece is housed at the Broad, along with several other Warhol originals. Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog (Blue)”, a massive installation of mirror-polished stainless steel with a transparent coating designed in the shape of a balloon dog, is a favorite for children of all ages. Robert Therrien’s “Under The Table,” an enormous table and chairs set large it takes up its own room, creates a sense of Alice in Wonderland when Alice is small. Visitors can wander freely under the chairs and table, marveling at the enormity of the piece.
The museum’s biggest draw is the “Infinity Mirror Rooms” created by artist Yayoi Kusama. These unique installations create a sense of infinity within a tiny mirrored room. When you arrive at the museum you can sign up at the iPad kiosk in the lobby to arrange a time to be admitted to one of the rooms. At your designated time, you will be allowed to enter for a short time. Once in the room the overhead lights will go out, illuminating thousands of smaller lights hanging from the ceiling, creating a sense of infinity reflecting in the mirrors surrounding you. While the entire thing only lasts 45 seconds, the surreal experience is like no other.
While the museum is free to enter, the staff carefully monitors the building’s capacity in appreciation of the fact too many visitors makes the viewing of the museum’s collections less enjoyable. For that reason, tickets are timed in an effort to control the number of attendees at any given time. Simply visit the museum’s website to secure your timed entrance but if you prefer to take your chances, visitors are welcome to stand in line outside to be admitted as space permits.