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Eli Broad on new museum: 'Our first choice is the Beverly Hills site'

August 13, 2009 |  4:26 pm


Rumors have been circulating over the last several days about the fate of Eli Broad's planned Beverly Hills museum. The Architect's Newspaper reported last week that the museum is "looking all but dead" and that Broad is searching for another location.

Broad has been conspicuously silent about the matter -- until now. The billionaire philanthropist recently spoke with The Times' Cara Mia DiMassa about his plans for downtown, but during the conversation, he also shed some light on the museum project.

"The City of Beverly Hills wants to do this. We want to do it," he said. "But there are a lot of complications that include creating adequate parking. It's a work in progress."

The proposed museum would be located on one or two parcels of a three-acre commercial and retail project called the Gateway, near the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, according to reports. The museum will consist of a two-story structure with approximately 68,000 square feet of gallery space.

In the interview, Broad confirmed rumors that the Beverly Hills site isn't finalized and that the museum could be headed for another part of town: "We are also being asked to build a museum if not there then in Santa Monica. And elsewhere."

Earlier this year, the Broad Foundation was reported to have launched a private competition for an architect, although the foundation has refused to confirm the reports.

Broad said that the museum "is going to happen" and that it's merely a matter of timing. 

"Our first choice is the Beverly Hills site," he said. "It's a great site. With great traffic on both Santa Monica and Wilshire, and then you've got the Peninsula Hotel, the Beverly Hilton and a proposed Waldorf Astoria right across the street. And lots of tourists in that whole area."

Broad did not reveal any time line for the museum's completion. "There are a lot of issues that we are working on," he said.

-- Cara Mia DiMassa and David Ng

Photo: Eli Broad. Credit: Irfan Kahn / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

How about building it at the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts, which are the greatest art treasure in LA and in desperate need of restoration? But then he would ruin it with tons of Contempt garbage he has collected, better to keep it in BH where we can ignore it, and the trendies stare with their typical skinny self starved blank looks.

Looking to build another Mausoleum to himself, wouldnt that face look perfect with a Joker make-up job, like Obamas Socialism poster?

art collegia delenda est

LIke a lot of Angelenos, I am a supporter of the arts, contemporary architecture and Eli Broad's generous, far-sighted, and positive transformations of the city. But, w/ all the problems Los Angeles has, do we really need yet another shrine to one man's art collection? In fact, do we really need yet another contemporary art museum of any type? We already have all the various versions of MOCA and--recently--BCAM, Broad's blocky new museum at LACMA.

At some point, there where will be too many venues for the finite amount of visitors interested in contemporary art. I am sure Broad and his team will envision a more transformative project than this.

What makes you think he can envision something better? He is a builder of mass market suburban houses made for as little as possible monetary outlay on his behalf that will reap for him the most profit; architectural interest is of minimal importance. The purpose of a Vanity museum is to promote himself not fine art. If he was interested in contributing to the L.A. art community, he would work with the various non-profits already in existence to increase their quality by relying on the advice of those who have devoted their lives to learning about and presenting art to our community. People feel they have to "laud" his interest in art because they are hoping to receive some alms from him; it is not because an MFA believes Eli knows anything about this profession. His museum will be spotty with some good work, but mostly there will be exhibited a lot of pieces we will wonder who convinced him to buy it. No doubt a number of pieces would help to fill-in gaps in various museums but he doesn't want to GIVE. I would love to be proved wrong and that he or his advisor has enough knowledge to fill a museum that is worth this outlay of funds... I'm not holding my breath.


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