AO News Summary: On Eli Broad’s Art Loans To LACMA

February 14th, 2008

Broad Contemporary Art Museum via LACMA

Eli Broad created a paradox at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art by donating a building and then loaning the artwork. The Broad Foundation gave $56 million for the construction of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, on LACMA grounds.

Eli Broad’s Museum Opens With Jeff Glitter, Dark Andy: Review [Bloomberg]
To Have and Give Not [New York Times]
Broad Collections’ artists on view at BCAM [The Broad Art Foundation]
Transforming the LACMA [LACMA]

Jeff Koons, Triple-Hulk Elvis II
via The Broad Foundation

In two days, the new museum will open. Broad kept the collection’s number of works minimal. He chose to curate the exhibitions himself, choosing a smaller number of pieces with high price values, as not to overpower the museum’s minimal space. The museum will house an average of 2,000 artworks from Broad’s private Foundation. This allows his contribution to remain substantial, yet, keep the integrity of Broad’s wide collection.

There is debate that Broad’s decision to loan holdings from his foundation, and not give them to the museum, is defeatist. The New York Times, on February 10th, claimed that for him to not fully endorse a museum with his name on it “undermined his own cause.” Broad is considered one of the art community’s most influential collectors. He is one of the most respected contemporary art connoisseurs in the world. Several works by Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Damien Hirst, Eric Fischl, Barabara Kruger and Jean-Michel Basquiat are now showing at the BCAM. In one year the artworks will be rotated out as part of a traveling exhibition.

The stunt the Broad Foundation has played on the LACMA has discredited its promotions for expansion. The BMCA is the first step of a three-stage plan brings the museum up-to-par with museums in New York and London. The Foundation’s change of heart to keep its artworks in the museum as a permanent collection might make some backers nervous. An article in Bloomberg, dated February 13th, viewed the museum as nothing more than “a giant thank you to a generous patron.” Either way, the Foundation wants to keep it’s collection on exhibition around the world, and the BMCA is hopeful that the Foundation will turn the loan into a permanent gift after the museum’s popularity grows.