Broad Museum Opens This Week

broad-museum-downtown-los-angeles-90013The design for the ambitious Broad Museum on Grand Avenue, officially opening this weekend, has been referred to since its planning stages as “the veil and the vault.”

The “veil” is the building’s honeycomblike exoskeleton of angled, oval windows, initially meant to be much more ethereal and transparent-looking than it actually is.

Eli Broad, the 82-year-old billionaire art collector behind the museum, is suing the engineering subcontractor that failed to give his building, designed by architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the “quality” that was intended.

“The vault” refers to the storage facility for the art that Broad and his wife, Edye, have collected over the past 40 years.

Through a window in the main stairwell, visitors will be able to peer down into the vault.

This means everyone gets a glimpse behind the scenes — and for free, since the museum will charge no admission.

It’s a little strange — and no doubt intentional — that a $140 million museum paid for by an extremely wealthy businessman (who for years has attached strings to his donations to schools and museums) would position itself as the most transparent cultural institution on a street full of them.
But will the Broad in fact turn out to be transparent — transparent in its mission, its motives and its relations with the community? Read more…