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The Broad Collection joins a long list of predecessors

August 24, 2010 |  8:56 am

Pittman Like You, 1995 Anne Cusack LAT

Huntington, Getty, Simon, Hammer, Crocker, Menil, Wadsworth, Phillips, Frick, Morgan, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc. -- the list of super-rich Americans who, since the mid-19th century, established museums or galleries to house their personal art collections is as familiar as the institutions that still carry their names.

Now, with the (unsurprising) news that Eli and Edythe Broad will build a museum on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A., add another name to the list. A recent Forbes magazine article breathlessly burbled about "the rise of the billionaire ego-seum," coining a clever term, but the Broad museum is more accurately described with the modest adjective, "next." It's next in a long line of such U.S. institutions.

Why is it happening now? And what could it mean for the future? I have some thoughts about both of those questions here.

--Christopher Knight

Photo: Lari Pittman, "Like You," 1995, Broad Collection; Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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