Broad Settles Downtown, on Grand Avenue


by Kelly Boyd

This Monday, Eli Broad formally announced the future location of his Broad Collection museum, bringing another cultural institution to the already busy area.  His museum will be the first building in the Grand Avenue Project, an initiative to rejuvenate the downtown neighborhood that has stalled due to the ongoing budget crisis. The museum will be designed by the New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, chosen by Broad after a private competition involving six firms.  Of the decision, Broad is quoted as saying, “We didn’t want it to clash, but we didn’t want it to be anonymous either.”  He is, of course, referring to the site’s close proximity to Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall.

By establishing a museum for his personal collections, Broad has at once settled the question of where his approximately 2,000 works of art will ultimately reside and followed the precedent of past collectors such as Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty.  His decision to found his own museum was motivated by the determination that no museum in Los Angeles had the gallery space necessary to display his collections.  The Broad Collection will doubtless have the capacity that Broad requires, with a projected 50,000 square feet of galleries.  Broad has also left open the option of future collaborations with other LA museums including MOCA, where he serves as a co-founding chairman and lifetime trustee.

Construction on the parking garage is set to begin in October, with museum construction scheduled to begin in the spring.  The museum is expected to be complete in late 2012, and the Broad Art Foundation will relocate to Grand Ave from Santa Monica at that time.

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