It is approximately 3:30 on a sunny Thursday afternoon. Waiting for the light at the corner of Grand and 2nd in Downtown LA, I gazed ahead at the line forming outside the double doors of The Broad, the highly anticipated museum that opened its doors in September 2015. I had reserved tickets two months in advance; the only thing more striking than the huge standby line forming was the massive white-slate honeycomb-like structure that comprises The Broad’s outside. Ticket in hand, I walked eagerly past the doors.
Inside was a cacophony of noise and wonder: a bustle of people navigated their way through the almost industrial expanse of the lobby. Anxiously, I made my way to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room Exhibition located to the left of the entrance but to my dismay the exhibition was booked and no slots were available for the rest of the day. Many visitors make line just for a timed ticket exclusively for this exhibition, a mirrored room with an endless array of LED lights.
There was a towering display of oversized white teacups reminiscent of Alice’s wonderland that were by the escalators leading up to the second and third floors of the museum.Ascending into the third floor, I was welcomed by an expansive area with pristine white walls and a ceiling which gave the feeling of complete openness. Founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum houses over 2,000 works of postwar and contemporary modern art. The inaugural installation is on view, featuring an eclectic mix of contemporary art--from 1950’s till now.
Politically charged art provided much for social commentary. Marlene Dumas’s painting “Wall Weeping” depicts Israeli soldiers searching Palestinian men. Works from such artists as Glen Lingon and Damien Hirst show the tension of America’s complicated, messy racial history and climate. Also on view are works from Barbara Kruger, whose prominence rose in the 80s with her bold pieces that focused on media and politics, such as “Your Body Is a Battleground.” Works from influential artists such as Cy Twombly, Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, and Jean-Michel Basquiat are displayed as well, who all helped shape and transformed the art scene in their respective times.
I was anticipating seeing the works of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, perhaps the most sought after collections at The Broad. Seeing their works in person was a surreal experience. Here were the two most influential artists of the modern and pop art movements; there really are no words for it. Warhol is by far a favorite of mine, so seeing Marilyn Monroe hang out right by Elvis and of course, Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup cans basking in all its glory left me feeling elated and inspired.
The Broad is a magical, transformative experience: It is so much more than a museum. The Broad’s collection of modern and contemporary art are evocative and visceral, engaging visitors and broadening minds. So what is one to do after visiting such a remarkable place? My suggestion? Plan this all on a Thursday. Eat lunch at Grand Central Market. Take your time touring the vastness of the Broad. Once the sun sets and you’re all done, continue the cycle of course by taking a quick stroll to MOCA; they offer free admission every thursday from 5-8 pm. You’ll thank me later. Until next time my lovely little creeps...