Eli Broad To Open His Own Contemporary Art Museum in Beverly Hills

20Nov08

By Emily Waldorf

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Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad

Amid reports that L.A.’s MOCA is in dire financial trouble, Eli Broad announced that he is planning to open his own contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, designed to replace the apparently “cramped” offices currently housing the Broad Contemporary Art Foundation in Santa Monica, which is closed to the general public.  The news runs contrary to Broad’s previous statements that he did not have any intention of building his own museum, favoring the creation of a “lending library,” meant to help museums around the world.  Was this the reasoning behind his decision to keep his collection as a private foundation instead of donating it to BCAM last February?

Apparently, he will continue the practice of lending works to international museum exhibitions and create his very own “first-class public art museum.”  Broad has retained Gensler architecture firm to represent him in his new project and the site of the new museum is slated to replace a Starbucks on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in a prominent area of Beverly Hills.  Broad’s plans for a public art museum sound exciting given the scope and importance of his collection, but does Los Angeles really need another contemporary art space when the existing institutions are in serious financial trouble (MOCA) or at least scaling back significantly (LACMA, Getty, Hammer)?  What do ArtsÉtoile readers think?

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