The Broad Contemporary Art Museum officially opened to the public on February 16th. The museum is the ambitious new incarnation of the Broad Foundation’s mission to improve public education. Its opening on the campus of the Los Angeles Museum of Art is part of LACMA’s plan to expand and transform its facilities and programming. Now, with the addition of the Broad Museum, LACMA has vastly improved its contemporary art offering.
Eli and Edythe Broad began the Broad Foundation, an organization bent on bettering education, in 1984. The Foundation aimed to keep the Broad’s expansive collection of contemporary art in the public domain. Now, with the opening of BCAM, they have found a way to permanently exhibit their Warhols, Koons, and Hirsts.
Designed by Renzo Piano, BCAM is an angular and flamboyant building distinguished from the rest of the LACMA campus by its rows of red pillars and its three-story escalator. It houses work that has rarely, if ever, been available to the public outside of the gallery setting. With few exceptions, each featured artist gets his or her own room. When entering the third floor galleries, a viewer first encounters a room full of some of Jasper Johns’ most intriguing paintings, followed by room of gutsy Rauschenberg work, and then a room of clean-cut Elsworth Kelly paintings. Cindy Sherman has a vast room in which her more gory images are hung salon style and her untitled film stills occupy glass cases in the middle of the space. Damien Hirst has two galleries all to himself in which include work from his recent ‘Superstitions‘ series, and Richard Serra’s winding steel sculpture dominate the first floor. BCAM present an incredible array of contemporary art, giving more space to 20th and 21st century art at one time than many museums ever give.