Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Broad Opens Preview

An astonishing ascension through a cave like escalator takes you up to the main gallery. Or you might take the James Bond villain like elevator to see the works of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein and other American contemporary artists on the top floor wrapped in a cocoon. Being one of the first journalists to preview the new museum gave this reporter such pride in LA and the redevelopment of downtown to be a place to visit again.
Eli Broad with wife

Press waited on cell phones, mumbling about what they would see inside. The sun blazed above the middle of the street in front of the gallery, we blocked traffic to hear the short, white-haired 80-year-old Mr. Eli Broad give a short welcome to his gallery. "Almost fifty years collecting. It has not become a passion, but an addiction. Y'know when our walls we're filled at home we wanted to continue collecting or just as importantly we [wanted to] share the works in our collection with the broadest possible audience."

"We didn't want anyone to prevent coming because of an admission price. We hope the people come from Los Angeles and around the world to enjoy our museum and the collection." Eli Broad had stated again that this new cultural hub is free to all. Later it was revealed that 85,000 had already RSVPed for free tickets, as anyone can do online. Sadly, the opening to the public, on Sunday, is already completely booked. Not to fret, though you might see it booked online for future dates the Broad wants visitors come on by, there just might be wait times to get in.

"Talking about architecture, no where in the world can you find iconic architecture within three blocks. Let me explain, you start out on Grand Ave with Performing Arts High School by Wolf Free, the cathedral by Raphael Maneo, the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, the MOCA across the street by Arata Isozaki and know The Broad by Diller Scofidio + Renfro." Broad shared his love of the look of the area and the design he chose to enclose his art. Elizabeth Diller, principal-in-charge of the design firmed used explained "the vault and the veil." "Our formulation was the veil and the vault and it was a way for the vault to turn liability into an asset. She continued, "So the vault would hold the collection and it floats in the middle of the building ... the veil, a somewhat coy and porous mineral, five-sided facade with certain characteristics of coral... would nest over the vault. "

Being outside or just looking in is liking being somewhere so alien with the veil. Inside you could see how well it diffused the blazing sun as lighting had to be turned on for us to see the broad collection of the Broad.

"And the street would leak into the lobby through the veil," Diller nearly end on that. Though I couldn't see what she meant  there, but wondered what it would look like on Sunday after the street was opened to LA traffic.

Before making it past the lobby, that seemed like a cave, I was trapped in line for the Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, this a mirror-lined chamber housing  withwhat you perceive to be a seemingly endless LED light display. You may be inside for only 45 seconds and need another free ticket, but it's well worth it for the experience to stand in infinity looking deep into the stars. You will want to stay longer, but will be promptly asked to leave nicely when the door opens and infinity ends.

Close by, loud music had me spring into wondering if I would see a live concert. Ragnar Kjartansson's The Visitors is like stepping into a music video. Nine HD screens play in the real time of one hour. Each screen a different member of the band, sometimes in an awkward position in a mansion in upstate New York. Ragnar himself sings from a bathtub while playing guitar. What might seem ridiculous works as enticing and pleasurable music expreince that's fun to watch and wait to see what happens next.

Down even further was the surprise of some colorful and vibrant Takashi Murakami work including, "In the Land of the Dead and Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow." His work is so powerful it draws you all the way from the lobby to the back gallery on the first floor. The rainbow of colors and mix of cute with gross continues to keep the audience of visitors unfamiliar with his work stunned.
Takashi Murakami art

Mayor Garcetti
Mayor Garcetti had walked to the museum from meeting representatives from China up the road at LA Live. The debonair mayor added to the speeches at the start and was welcomed for his help on getting the museum finished. "Los Angeles, a city that is the creative cross-roads of the world, " started the Mayor. He continued by thanking the Broads, "...The best creators are here, the forces keep coming here... we do have an art scene that isn't just marking history, it's making it and today that's what you have done." Finally saying, "I hope people get into the guts of this building, because it takes a few visits to understand it and feel how it both reflects where we always have a beautiful face to the world, we're Los Angeles, but also we have deeper meaning the more you get to know us and the more you get to know the city."

Onto the second floor I was in awe of so many classic works I had scene around LA or never saw, all in one space. Past the metal Crayola box color roses and off to the side for the Damien Hirst-Separated From The Flock. That strange piece making you ponder about life and death and trying you to evoke empathy over a lamb forever frozen in time.

Underneath a giant table, Robert Therrien's Under the Table was a playful piece making an adult remember when they were so small they could go underneath a table with little effort. For midgets, it was just another insult or maybe a tool for us "tallers" 'as they call us, to understand their plight. At 10 feet high only the taller Lakers might have a problems going under.

You won't be missing much on the 2nd floor, because you're not invited. Unless, there is going to be a talking engagement where the auditorium with the eye of the building in the center is open. These are where the offices and the vault is. You may wander there to use the bathroom, other than that see it and it's elevators used for posh offices in films or a government agency headquarters on TV.

Not ready when I walked through, a free mobile app, that will be ready on Sunday to guide you through the museum with I believe four different tracks. Get in from when it goes up. “Looking with LeVar,” a family audio tour, narrated by LeVar Burton is a nice one for the kids.

Reflecting back I'm still in wonder and awe of everything to get lost in from just the veil and scale of the new building to largest contemporary art collection in North America. Future exhibitions to come and the endless change of what's to come out of the vault to see again, make return trips very likely. Please visit The Broad in the coming weeks and months. Explore downtown and be surprised by the great majesty of this place before it loses that brand new touch or JJ Abrams or someone rents it out as a background in a Star Trek film, this happens quite often with LA architecture.

Countless art to count on for the future. Go Broad!

The Broad
Opens Sunday, Sept 20,2015
The Broad is open six days a week from Tuesday through Sunday.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Monday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

221 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, California 90012
The museum is located on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles on the corner of
2nd Street. The site includes The Broad museum, public plaza, Otium restaurant and
a 344-space parking garage. The Broad is located across the street from Walt
Disney Concert Hall to the north and the Museum of Contemporary Art and the
Colburn School of to the east.

General admission to The Broad is free. Advance online reservations are
encouraged, but not required. For visitors who want to ensure a specific date and
time for their visit, and avoid wait times during busy periods, The Broad provides
advance reservation of timed tickets online at no charge. Tickets have entry times
beginning every half hour. Free tickets are available for reservation at Tickets will also be available for same day or future visits onsite
at the museum.

More photos from my visit