bunker hill, downtown los angeles

Full Tour: The Broad Art Museum Finally Opens in Downtown LA

Now open in Downtown LA, the new $140 million Broad Museum houses billionaire Eli Broad's 2,000 piece contemporary art collection (Photo: Hunter Kerhart Photography)

Last week, one of the most anticipated projects in Downtown LA finally opened after almost 4.5 years of construction and delays (click here to see when the Broad first broke ground in 2011). The $140 million Broad contemporary art museum opened its doors to the public on Sept 20th to completely full capacity. Even though the museum will have free admission forever, people still have to register and crowds still have to be controlled to maximize the museum-going experience, so attendees are limited to 400 an hour and a total of 4,000 a day. Demand is so high that tickets have been sold out for pretty much the rest of October and weekend tickets won’t be available until mid-December.

To put quite simply: This is billionaire Eli Broad’s very special baby. His entire 2,000 art piece collection — one of the most significant holdings of postwar and contemporary art in the world — will be housed permanently in this museum and will likely become his most popular legacy he leaves behind as a gift to all Angelenos. The current inaugural exhibition, which lasts until 2016, will feature 250 works by 60 different artists including some you’ve probably heard of like Basquiat, Warhol, Murakami, and Jeff Koons. And maybe some you haven’t heard of before but should get to know like El Anatsui from Nigeria and Yayoi Kusama from Japan.

Filling in one of the last remaining parcels of land along Grand Ave on Bunker Hill, the 120,000 square foot edifice with two levels of gallery space totaling 50,000 square feet (35,000 on the top level and 15,000 on the ground floor) was designed by New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The building itself is a sculpture of art resembling a honeycomb, and like bees, symbolizes the hard work it takes to build a great urban center. The Broad Museum, combined synergistically together with neighboring MOCA, The Colburn School, Disney Hall and the Music Center, can now be considered one of the greatest cultural meccas in the United States right here in Downtown LA. Now all we need is the Grand Ave Project to break ground and tie everything together.

Enjoy a tour of The Broad below.

The Broad southern entrance along Grand Ave near gift shop

The Broad southern entrance along Grand Ave near gift shop

The Broad northern entrance along Grand Ave with Urs Fischers' Untitled 2012 work of a "melting" aluminum cast iron lamppost

The Broad northern entrance along Grand Ave with Urs Fischers’ Untitled 2012 work of a “melting” aluminum cast iron lamppost

Take the 105-foot escalator up to the main top floor gallery level to begin your museum visit

Take the 105-foot escalator up to the main top floor gallery level to begin your museum visit

The top main level provides 35,000 square feet of exhibition space with amazing skylights above

The top main level provides 35,000 square feet of exhibition space with amazing skylights above

All eyes were on Eli Broad as his 2,000 art piece collection museum opens in Los Angeles

All eyes were on Eli Broad as his 2,000 art piece collection museum opens in Los Angeles

Eli Broad speaks with media before his museum opened to the public on Sept 20, 2015

Eli Broad speaks with media before his museum opened to the public on Sept 20, 2015

El Anatsui's Red Block (2010) found aluminum and copper tapestry

El Anatsui’s Red Block (2010) found aluminum and copper tapestry

A closer view of Red Block's bottle caps, reused aluminum commercial packaging, and copper wires

A closer view of Red Block’s bottle caps, reused aluminum commercial packaging, and copper wires

Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog (1994 - 2000) mirror-polished stainless steel

Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (1994 – 2000) mirror-polished stainless steel

Jeff Koons' Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) porcelain sculpture

Jeff Koons’ Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) porcelain sculpture

Jasper Johns' Flag (1967) encaustic, oil, and collage on fabric mounted on plywood, three panels

Jasper Johns’ Flag (1967) encaustic, oil, and collage on fabric mounted on plywood, three panels

Edward Ruscha's Norms, La Cienega, on Fire (1964) oil and pencil on canvas

Edward Ruscha’s Norms, La Cienega, on Fire (1964) oil and pencil on canvas

John Baldessari's Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell (1968) acrylic on canvas

John Baldessari’s Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell (1968) acrylic on canvas

Ellsworth Kelly's Green Blue Red (1963) and Blue Red (1968) oil on canvas

Ellsworth Kelly’s Green Blue Red (1963) and Blue Red (1968) oil on canvas

Kara Walker's African't (1996) cut paper on wall

Kara Walker’s African’t (1996) cut paper on wall

Charles Ray's Fall '91 (1992) mixed media

Charles Ray’s Fall ’91 (1992) mixed media

Robert Therrien's Under the Table (1994)

Robert Therrien’s Under the Table (1994)

Damien Hirst's Away from the Flock (1994) sheep suspended in formaldehyde

Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock (1994) sheep suspended in formaldehyde

Keith Haring's Red Room (1988) acrylic on canvas

Keith Haring’s Red Room (1988) acrylic on canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat's Eyes and Eggs (1983) acrylic, oil stick, and paper collage on cotton drop cloth with metal hinges

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Eyes and Eggs (1983) acrylic, oil stick, and paper collage on cotton drop cloth with metal hinges

John Ahearn's Raymond and Toby (1989) oil on fiberglass

John Ahearn’s Raymond and Toby (1989) oil on fiberglass

Making our way back down to the ground level, one can peer inside "the Vault," which holds the permanent collection in the middle of the building

Making our way back down to the ground level, one can peer inside “the Vault,” which holds the permanent collection in the middle of the building

The Oculus Hall: In case you were wondering what is behind the building's oculus

The Oculus Hall: In case you were wondering what is behind the building’s oculus

Back on the ground level, explore the 15,000 square foot gallery starting with Goshka Macuga's Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite (2013) wool tapestry

Back on the ground level, explore the 15,000 square foot gallery starting with Goshka Macuga’s Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite (2013) wool tapestry

Takashi Murakami's DOB in the Strange Forest (1999)

Takashi Murakami’s DOB in the Strange Forest (1999)

Ending the tour with Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room --- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013)

Ending the tour with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013)

9 Comments

  1. Tom Warren says

    Brigham:

    Thanks for sharing your early experience at the Broad. I really enjoyed your photos. Very pleased to have an early look at some of the pieces housed within. Quite a collection.

    Tom

  2. Lawrence Aldava says

    Overall a great addition to Bunker Hill. The collection is strong even if there have been complaints about how the inaugural exhibit was curated. Having a free museum with contemporary art of this caliber is quite a win for Downtown and Los Angeles. Look forward to future shows and exhibitions.

  3. Caryn Hofberg says

    I was fortunate enough to be there opening day. The museum is phenomenal and the collection of art is some of the best I’ve seen. Perfect flow, perfect lighting. The staff are strategically placed throughout the museum. They are all dressed in their own clothes in black. I talked with many of them and they are like mini docents that are knowledgeable about the art that they are standing around. I can’t wait to go when it is raining to be inside looking out through the honeycomb openings of the building. Already booked my next visit. What an incredible human being Eli Broad is to give this special gift to Los Angeles. And I can’t get over the fact that he gives this great gift to us for free. We need to send him a giant thank you note signed by the citizens of L.A. God Bless Eli Broad and God Bless our beautiful DTLA.

  4. The photos you’ve shown capture the spirit of the museum well. The museum itself is a fluid, living, piece of architecture! I can’t wait to enjoy the collections for years to come!

  5. Chris Jacobs says

    Brigham, your photos of the Broad art work are amazing! I am planning to go later this month (one of the lucky ones I guess hehe). I especially like the last picture of that millions of lights which I can’t wait to experience myself. Great, great work.

  6. carter says

    What a superb presentation of all those superb works of art. Truly outstanding on both fronts. Can’t wait to go – will be in the ‘hood on Sunday, October 11 for my Beethoven fix, and might try to catch a glimpse before or after. But just the setting on the street among all the other local icons – truly astonishing that the museum brought the vibrancy of Grand Avenue together. Now, Mr. Gehry, with an exhibition of your works at LACMA, isn’t it about time to get the Grand Avenue project on the top of your priority list for design, construction and Grand Opening!

    And on a side note – Brigham, you did an outstanding job on the blog re-design and this post shows it to its fullest.

    • Caryn Hofberg says

      Fyi, need to make online reservations in advance before going. They do allow a limited number of standbys but they usually stop that early since its been so full.

  7. DTLA Resident says

    I just went yesterday and I have to say I was so impressed with the museum and the entire art collection! As a downtown resident of over 6 years, I’ve really watched this place grow and transform into an amazing place. The Broad museum is truly a priceless asset added to DTLA and I just love that little park they put in right next door with those “100 year old olive trees.” I am so excited to see how everything is going to tie together. DTLA really is rising Brigham!

  8. Carmen says

    I had the pleasure of experiencing this museum last night, it is a magnificent addition to DTLA and BY photos of this museums’ works are incredible. I can’t wait to go buy some of the t-shirts that are for sale on the ground floor. I only wish they had a few more items for sale, like mini magnets of some of the works. Absolutely gorgeous. Bravo.

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