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It's official: Eli Broad will build his art museum downtown; Diller Scofidio + Renfro will design [Updated]

August 23, 2010 |  1:46 pm

Broadsite2 Eli Broad officially confirmed Monday what many Los Angeles area officials and art-world leaders were expecting: The billionaire philanthropist and his wife, Edythe, will build their new contemporary art museum, the Broad Collection, on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A.

The announcement not only represents the culmination of a years-long process in which Broad considered building in locations in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, but also settles the larger question of where his coveted art collection – which had been the envy of museums around the country – will ultimately reside.

Broad said Monday that Grand Avenue had been his top choice and that the museum will help turn downtown into a “vibrant center” for the city’s cultural community.

“I think we’re going to create a downtown cultural alliance,” said Broad, referring to the site’s proximity to the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. He added that he hopes the museum will jump-start the long-stalled Grand Avenue Project — a costly initiative intended to revitalize the downtown neighborhood with stores, hotels, condominums and restaurants.

La-et-broad-museum Broad also announced Monday that he has chosen the New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the approximately 120,000-square-foot museum, which will include exhibition space, offices and a parking garage. The Broad Foundation said the designs would not be released until October.

The price tag for construction is estimated at $80 million to $100 million, which Broad will fund.

Construction on the parking garage is scheduled to start in October. The museum construction is set to begin in the spring, with a completion expected in late 2012. The Broad Art Foundation will relocate from Santa Monica to the new museum downtown.

Monday’s announcement came just after the Grand Avenue Authority officially approved Broad’s proposal for the museum. It was the last hurdle that the billionaire had to clear for the project to officially begin. The five-member panel voted unanimously to approve the museum.

L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who chairs the panel, said she hopes the new Broad museum will help transform Grand Avenue “to the full grandeur that we’d like to see.”

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who also sits on the panel, joked with Broad after Monday’s session, saying that “we don’t always work together well, but in this case, we did.”

The Broads are expected to put in close to $300 million of their own money toward the museum. In addition to the construction costs, they will endow the Broad Art Foundation with $200 million to cover the new museum’s annual operating expenses.

They will also pay $7.7 million for a 99-year lease of the public land, which is located near the corner of Grand Ave. and 2nd Street.

In choosing Diller Scofidio + Renfro as the lead architect, Broad said he considered the museum’s location, which is close to Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. “We didn’t want it to clash, but we didn’t want it to be anonymous either,” said Broad.

The other finalist in the running was the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, led by Rem Koolhas.
The Santa Monica firm Gensler will serve as the executive architect on the project.

Broad is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading high-end collectors. With approximately 2000 works of art, Broad’s holdings range from Pop Artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtensteinto L.A. artists working today like Ed Ruscha, Mike Kelley, Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn and Elliott Hundley. He is known for collecting in depth, not just breadth.

Robin Cembalest, executive editor of ARTnews, says he’s been on the magazine’s “top ten” list of international collectors every year since it started in 1998. “Other people come and go from the top 10. But he has consistently been making substantial acquisitions of major artworks”.

In deciding to build his own museum, Broad is following in the footsteps of other California mega-collectors like Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty. But they built their institutions decades ago, before there were so many museums on the L.A. landscape.

Today, three of the most prominent museums in Southern California – the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA and the Hammer Museum – compete with each other for donors and visitors. And all have benefited from Broad’s patronage at one point or another, most notably with Broad financing a Renzo Piano building in his name at LACMA, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which opened in 2008.
The philantrophist also stepped in to rescue MOCA with a $30 million pledge when that museum was on the financial brink in 2008.

Broad’s new museum raises many questions, not the least of which there is enough of an audience for contemporary art here to support so many museums. The future relationship between the new museum and MOCA also remains unclear.

When asked if there will be collaborative efforts between the two institutions, Broad, who serves as a co-founding chairman and life trustee of MOCA, replied the he is “sure there will be.”

Broad said Monday that he decided against giving his collection to a museum because none had sufficient gallery space to display the artwork.

The Broad Collection is expected to display approximately 300 works from Broad’s collection at any given time in its 50,000 square feet of gallery space.

During the lengthy approval process, Broad’s museum faced opposition from Shen Yun Performing Arts, a dance group that has strong ties with the Falun Gong sect. The group wanted to build a theater space and residential tower on the Grand Ave. site and claimed that officials weren’t giving them a fair hearing.

But on Monday, a representative from the group addressed the Grand Ave. Authority and effectively conceded defeat.

-- David Ng and Jori Finkel

Comments () | Archives (21)

Ok now that all that is over with let us see what the new museum looks like. Let us see pictures.

Uh, what about the pro football team for LA, Eli?

Mr. Broad please buy the Dodgers and save us fans from McLoan!!!

I think that this is great news for the city. However...we ask you Mr. Broad to step in and save the most cherished sports franchise this city has ever known..the Los Angeles Dodgers. The most beloved baseball franchise in history is currently under the control of two of the most loathsome people who have ever set foot in our fair city..the McCourts. The great baseball fans in this city desperately need someone like yourself or Dr. Jerry Buss or former mayor Richard Riordan to step in and save this great franchise after the judge overseeing the McCourt's divorce proceedings hopefully order them to sell the team and divide the proceeds.

A museum,you say? It would be a great opportunity for the employment of "guest workers" from more southerly climes. Tax money indeed. A win-win situation.

Where are pictures?!? If construction starts this october there have to some renderings we can get a hold of...

Seems like a conflict of interest for Broad to be on the board of directors at the Museum of Contermporary Art, while building his own museum directly across the street from it.

He'd no longer be qualified to make unbiased decisions in the best interest of MOCA, if the result of those decisions are in direct competition with his own museum.

I hope there is still a true journalist left to investigate that conflict of interest instead of just writing a few op-ed paragraphs about it.

But what happens when Broad has to make a decision for MOCA as its Chairman, and the result of that decision is in direct competition with the interst of his own museum across the street?

Seems like a pretty big conflict of interest that wouldn't be allowed in any other line of business.

How bout give us some green space for a change. Our whole city grid is filled with parking lots and buildings, really doesn't yield much for a citizens quality of life! And that modification of an existing park between the dorothy chandler and city hall isn't what I consider giving the citizens more public park space!

Please Mr. Broad (and City/County of LA) - put some energy into restoring Broadway. The heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the world looks like downtown Tijuana. I got nothing against TJ, but imagine this:

All those beautiful old theaters could be put to use as genuine theaters, you know, the kind where you go see people acting on stage.... like Manhattan. There could be high-end stores, art galleries, wonderful restaurants and boutique shopping.

What about people who currently park in that location. Yes, this is self serving but that's 150 or so parking spaces the city wont get back.

How about building up the Rodia State Park around the Watts Towers as a true creative center, and revitalizing a community that truly need it, not a buncha fat cats and wannabe connoseurs. Its a dead area except for concerts, seven those in the hotels right there avoid MoCA, like its gonna change with more of the same.

Save the Watts Towers, OUR creative cathedral, tear down the decadent Ivories

Where is Broad? No parties for him to attend outside of his fatcat lair, hardly a philanhtropist, its a mausoleum to his 'greatness'. Let him have it. avoid it, like the plague contempt is on the soul of our time.

This guy is always doing something egotistical like this. Southern California museums have the lowest visitor statistics of any city in the country. We don't need a monument to this guys high opinion of himself. If he is such an art lover he should give the dough to an arts program at the schools.

I have an awful lot of very fine contemporary, er, art, that I am willing to sell and can make more as needed

GREAT TAX DODGE for billionaires too rich to simply start a 'Non-Profit Foundation' in THEIR NAMES, of course. Frankly, Eli & Co hasn't DONE anything NOTEWORTHY, but he knows how to grease the political skids with KY campaign jelly!

Great news for Downtown!

Hey Dean Blake. You just showed your true anti-semitic, racist jerk colors! Does it really bother you that much that someone Jewish has made a success of his life and you're a failure? And not only that but he, instead of giving his money to his family/kids, or wasting it on more houses, castles in Spain or other useless stuff, etc. he is donating this museum, including all the expenses of building it, paying rent on the land for the next 99 years, etc, and giving away the contents of the museum (priceless works of art)to the city with the goal of enhancing and adding to the richness of our culture. You clearly can't see that because you are too blinded by your hatred. Sad for you! What a loser!!!

Donald Frazell, you show your ignorance by your bad spelling and clear lack of knowledge of art. This isn't about choosing between the Watts Towers and other art forms. There is a place for both in this city. If you really cared about art, which you clearly don't, you would understand that and be happy to see that our downtown is finally starting to look like a real downtown and not an abandoned, run down ugly area where no one wants to be. All you care about is one place that you feel represents your culture, which by the way it doesn't, and if you were smart enough you'd realize that by develloping the downtown area and expanding the culture in this city its to the advantage of your neighborhood and the Watts towers too.

The Broad Collection will probably be an improvement over the parking lot it will replace.

Michelle, learn to read. This is the result of an art school education, sheesh. Dean was not being anti semitic(Arabs are semitic also), but putting down WASPs as snooty.
And you can have it, no one goes to MoCA, and no one but art students and wannabes and 'patrons' of he arts who use it for parties and social events, and politicians to fund raise. no one will go to the New Broad either,
And he isnt giving his 'art" top the city. It is in perpetual limbo, to be dolled out at his and later boards discretion, and he is paying like a hundred bucks a month for the land over 99 years. Wow, what a humanitarian. LOL!

pS. Sorry about the spelling, some of us work for a living, gotta get back to the fun!
Damn slow FTP site.

just think, a true humanitarian could save in perpetuity the incredible, greatest work of art west of the Mississippi, Rodia's Nuestro Pueblo, OUR Town, for a pittance of what this soulless Mausoleum will cost. much on the taxpayers dime.

have a nice day!

art collegia delenda est
Fine art colleges must be destroyed

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