Can you believe that Los Angeles has one of the most thriving museum and gallery scenes in the US with more museums than any other city in America? Well it’s true and the city also holds some of the most valuable and sought-after collections of art and history in the world.
One of those impressive museums includes the contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, as seen in Flight Centre's 48 Hour Destination TV series.
The relatively new museum is home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. Eli and Edye Broad have been building their collection of postwar and contemporary art over the last five decades. With a belief that the greatest art collections are built when the art is being made.
Since opening in September 2015, The Broad has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, and if you’re headed to LA you should be sure to take a few hours and see why that is.
Top 5 highlights of the museum:
1. The permanent exhibits
The museum hosts robust representations of influential contemporary artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, and more, plus an ever-growing representation of younger artists.
The museum is also a hotspot for its timely exhibits of popular and emerging artists exhibitions such as the current "Infinity Mirrored Room" by Yayoi Kusama. You can only spend 45 seconds in this sparkling chamber and can't make a reservation in advance, but once you arrive at the museum make a beeline for the tablet stationed outside of the piece to secure a spot in line.
2. The architecture of the building
The 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library, which has actively loaned collection works to museums around the world since 1984.
The futuristic space was designed by world-renowned architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, with an innovative “veil-and-vault” concept.
Rather than relegate the collection storage to secondary status, the “vault,” plays a key role in the museum experience. Its heavy opaque mass is always in view, hovering midway in the building. Viewing windows were created so visitors can get a sense of the intensive depth of the collection and peer right into the storage holding.
The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.
3. It's free and there's a great app to guide you
The museum offers free general admission and a killer app that guides you through your visit and around LA even too!
As you take the escalator to main exhibit space on the third floor, you arrive smack bang in the middle. To figure out the best way to navigate the inaugural exhibit there’s the super valuable app that you should definitely download before you go. Even if you don't feel like listening, take a glance at the playlist to find a sensical sequence to follow.
The Broad app features location-aware audio guides that include everything from artists talking about other famous artists to a kids' guide narrated by LeVar Burton. The guides work outside of the museum as well and are actually compelling enough to listen to on your own time.
4. The gift shop
‘The Shop’ as it’s known at The Broad features a wide selection of items inspired by artworks and artists in the Broad collection, The Broad’s architecture and Los Angeles. From Basquiat to Koons and local LA artists such as Mark Bradford, Chris Burden and Barbara Kruger, there are plenty of artist inspired gifts to shop for even the most discerning shopper.
From design elements for the home to statement jewelry pieces to limited edition prints and catalogues to museum-branded items, The Shop has pieces in any price range that combine beauty and function to inspire every person you want to bring back a gift for.
5. The downtown location
You could spend all day admiring some of the museum's artwork but would most likely be able to see everything in just over an hour. So to get more bang for your buck (or should we say for your parking spot) make a day out of discovering Downtown LA.
There’s heaps to do nearby the museum with the LA Philharmonic next door and the Colburn School - so be sure to check the schedule of each for any music or dance performances that may be on . Then take a walk around the phenomenal architectural feat that is the Walt Disney Concert Hall and its hidden gardens. Then head just a little further and relax in Grand Park or take a photo on one of the many hot pink park benches and get some lunch down the hill at Grand Central Market.