Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum Shows Broad Collection

Through September 2008, BCAM at LACMA will show its inaugural installation.

The newly opened Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA holds some of the most iconic artworks from the last four decades—most from the famed Broad Collections. Reflecting Eli and Edythe Broad’s practice of collecting artists in depth, BCAM’s 60,000 sq ft gallery space (about twice the size of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City) is primarily devoted to groupings of works by single artists.

BCAM provides rich representations of some of the most important artists of the last forty years, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Cindy Sherman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, and Richard Serra.

The New York Times, reported “Underscoring the Broads’ profound commitment to public museums and to the city of Los Angeles, Eli and Edythe Broad and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2003 announced the Broads’ $60 million donation to create the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) at LACMA.”

“For years Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist whose influence seems to waft into so many corners of this city’s cultural scene, has promised that Los Angeles will take its place among the world’s great arts capitals. So the art world was taken aback last month when, on the eve of the opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a $56 million addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for which he chose the architect and paid the bill, Mr. Broad abruptly seemed to undermine his own cause.”

Completely unexpected, Mr. Broad decided instead to keep the artwork in his private foundation for the time being. He argued that it would be better to lend his collection of 2,000+ works to various museums around the world, than to relegate most to storage in the Los Angeles museum.” This decision has given the art world the sense that perhaps Los Angeles was not up to rivaling New York and London as the center of contemporary art, in his opinion. However, Mr. Broad disagrees.

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