I recently was given the opportunity to visit LA’s newest contemporary art museum, The Broad. Here are my thoughts.
The Broad is located in Downtown LA and was founded in September of 2015. This museum is named for philanthropist Eli Broad (rhymes with ‘road’), who is financing the $140 million building which showcases the Broad art collections.
First, cheers to you, Eli. Thank you for not only sharing your collection with the world, but making it free! General admission is free, but you will have to reserve tickets in advance. This museum has been so popular, that tickets are almost never available. Currently, they are fully booked through early May 2016. Although I love to see that this new museum is doing well, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to see these exhibits for a while!
Well, sometimes life gives you exactly what you want and I was presented with the opportunity to visit the Broad!
First, the lines moved very efficiently and the staff was super friendly and helpful. Upon entering, go straight to the iPad to book your time slot for Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. This is a MUST. As of now, this installation is only due to be available through September of 2016, so don’t miss it if you get a ticket! I’ll come back to this later.
I first went to the third floor, starting at the top and working my way down, as is recommended. When you pop out of the escalator, you are greeting with this sculpture.
Right away, I knew I was going to love this museum. This is totally my type of art: colorful, funky, and a little provocative. The Broad has a feel that perfectly compliments the art work. Its clean and modern white walls and concrete ceiling add an industrial feel that lets the art shine through.
This museum has many large-scale pieces. It was laid out very nicely and each piece had an appropriate amount of space to let the observer gain full appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry.
The museum also only admits people in thirty minute increments, which nicely controls the flow of people. This was especially handy with uber-famous artists on exhibit, like Andy Warhol, who has a whole room dedicated to his work.
One of the things I love most about contemporary art is that it challenges our traditional conceptions of what is considered art. Seen by some art scholars as ‘stupid,’ contemporary works will often offer (at the surface) nothing more than words or shapes.
I personally love how provocative this type of art can be, often provoking the viewer to claim that “My four-year-old could make this!” Contemporary art forces the viewer to think in a different way, typically pushing against ones’ box of social comfort. Contemporary art asks the observer to evaluate social norms, history, racism, and sexuality.
Contemporary artists put something weird and foreign in front of you and ask you to stand back and evaluate – and hopefully appreciate – it.
Well I definitely can and do appreciate contemporary art, even if only due to the fact that I myself could not create any of the above pieces due to pure lack of talent.
The Broad also had a fairly extensive amount of pop art. If you remember my Dallas trip, then you will recall that I stopped at the Dallas Art Museum to see their International Pop exhibit. I think pop art is really cool and takes an immense amount of skill and creativity.
Another room devoted to a singular artist featured more Japanese roots. In Takashi Murakami‘s room ‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow’ you enter a crazy new rabbit hole. This exhibit will take your breath away. Probably not for the reasons you would expect though. Disguised behind colorful characters and magical scenery, you will find slightly disturbing and very dark matter. Be sure to click on the pictures to expand them. Although the subject matter does not appeal to me, the amount of detail and creativity that went into these giant pieces (I mean, we are talking 50 feet long by 12 feet high) is utterly astounding. Murakami is truly visionary.
Well, after seeing the entirety of the museum, I finally received my text message saying it was my turn to enter Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. I was stoked! You get in line (about 10 minutes) and wait to enter the room individually. As it is such an incredibly popular installation, you are only permitted to be in the Room for 45 seconds. Although it does not sound like much time, if you put your phone down and focus on the experience, it suffices easily.
I did manage to take a quick snapshot though.
This is such a unique art installation. You stand on a platform over water and around you are hundreds of lights. The walls and ceiling are mirrors and it truly does feel like it continues on for infinity.
This installation perfectly encapsulates a quote I like:
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light – Brene Brown
Going into the Infinity Mirrored Room made me realize that I have started to discover the infinite power of my light in the darkness that is this step back in my life. Thank you, Kusama, for making me feel infinite and bright.
What are your thoughts on this contemporary art museum? Let us know below.